John Danks flirted with perfection Monday night, but he and the White Sox came away with a frustrating lesson in finishing games.
Danks' 61/3 no-hit innings quickly transformed into a 5-1 loss to Boston that saw the White Sox fall a half-game behind the Twins in the American League Central.
"It was kind of sad, because you see this kid throwing the ball real well, then all of a sudden one hitter just turned everything around," said manager Ozzie Guillen, referring to J.D. Drew's two-run double with two outs in the top of the seventh that ruined Danks' shutout bid.
Earlier in the inning, Kevin Youkilis ended Danks' no-hit bit with a broken-bat single that fell safely into center field. Despite a walk to Mike Lowell, Danks was one out away from escaping the seventh before Drew's hit.
Unfortunately for the Sox, they couldn't push more runs across against Boston starter Josh Beckett (11-8).
"[Danks] did a tremendous job once again," Guillen said. "He took the ball against one of the best pitchers in the game and competed against him and gave us a chance to win. Unfortunately, he wasn't good enough."
The loss snapped Danks' six-game winning streak. He hadn't lost since May 24 against the Los Angeles Angels, and he surpassed last year's inning total by reaching the 1441/3.
"He's a kid, but we're not going to treat him that way," Guillen said.
However, Danks (9-5) is still learning how to pitch deep into games. Despite his long stretch without a loss, Danks had pitched at least seven innings only twice in that stretch.
"I'm not there yet, but I feel like I can be," said Danks, who tied his career high with nine strikeouts. "It's just a matter of me doing it. I want to be that guy to go eight and possibly complete the game."
Danks retired the first 17 Red Sox before hitting Jacoby Ellsbury in the back. Danks got out of the sixth by inducing Coco Crisp on a force play at second and was treated to a standing ovation.
"Obviously you can't help but notice it," said Danks, who pitched 61/3 no-hit innings April 3 in Cleveland. "But my main goal was just to get us into the eighth inning with the lead.
"It was tough knowing we had a one-run lead against a team like this and any of them could hit a homer at any time. I knew there wasn't much room for error with Beckett. He's a very proven pitcher and he had his 'A' stuff."
Beckett limited the Sox to a sacrifice fly by A.J. Pierzynski in the third, but the Sox missed scoring chances in the second and sixth, punctuated by Crisp's tumbling catch that robbed Jim Thome of an extra-base hit.
Boston, meanwhile, put the game away in the ninth on Jed Lowrie's two-run double and Ellsbury's RBI single off Matt Thornton.
Carlos Quentin struck out in each of his first three at-bats before getting drilled in the back by Beckett with two outs in the eighth, the fifth consecutive game Quentin has been hit by a pitch.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times