By Bruce Levine-
CHICAGO (CBS) — The White Sox pulled to within 2 1/2 games of AL Central-leading leading Detroit on Wednesday evening.
Behind the solid pitching of John Danks and an offense that scored seven times off of Justin Verlander, the South Siders made a statement, scoring seven runs in the sixth inning to chase one of the top starters in baseball.
That type of production has become second nature for the grinding White Sox offense, which has scored 27 runs in its last six games.
Danks held the Tiger offense to two runs on six hits through seven innings. The newly improved White Sox veteran has allowed just five runs in his last 30 innings pitched. Danks has a 1.55 ERA over his last four starts.
“I have to credit the two catchers and Coop (pitching coach Don Cooper),” Danks said after improving to 5-5. “For the most part, I have been following their lead. I think having a little more life on my fastball has been helpful, and the change-up has helped it all keep going.”
Verlander hasn’t had much success against Chicago as of late. The former Cy Young winner has given up 24 runs over 32 1/3 innings in his last five starts against the White Sox.
“It is big to get any runs off of him,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He threw a great game. You look at that one inning, a couple of things (bloops) here and there, it would look a lot different. He is a quality pitcher and one of the best in baseball. I don’t care what the numbers are, he is a tough guy to beat.”
The White Sox are 5-0 in their last five games against AL Central opponents. That includes two straight over the Tigers in this series.
Chicago is back to .500 in the standings and is looking like a club that can hang with the big boys for a while.
“This is a team that you like,” White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham said. “I like it, and I like our future. Anybody from the outside in can tell we have a lot of talented young guys. When you have talented young guys that can play, you always have a chance.”
The entire AL Central is within 3 1/2 games of first place.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.