CHICAGO -- No one would have predicted that John Danks wouldn't win his first game until June 6, but when it came, it was sweet.
Danks (1-8) won for the first time this season as the White Sox beat the Mariners, 3-1, at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday night.
"I'd be lying to you if I said it hasn't been tough," Danks said. "There's been a lot of beating myself up, not doubting myself but at the same time wondering when it's going to turn around. Just keep plugging along.
"I've had [great support] with my teammates and coaches, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't see 0-8 on the scoreboard every time I went out there."
First baseman Paul Konerko homered in the fourth, his 13th long ball of the season and his 378th career homer, breaking a three-way tie with Norm Cash and Jeff Kent for 64th on the all-time list.
Gordon Beckham drove in Chicago's second run with a two-out single in the seventh that scored A.J. Pierzynski. The RBI came a couple of pitches after imposing Mariners starter Michael Pineda knocked down Beckham with a head-high pitch.
"I looked at the replay and I can't even believe I got out of the way of the ball, so it's kind of a scary moment," Beckham said. "I was happy to come back and compete and get that hit right there. It was important because it put us out there a little more.
The White Sox scored no more than three runs for Danks for the ninth time in his 12 starts this season, but this time it was enough. Danks outdueled Pineda, who didn't allow much beyond Konerko's homer, which just cleared the left-field wall.
"We played good against a good pitcher today," Danks said. "For us to scratch three runs across, that's pretty good."
Danks allowed just seven hits in 7 1/3 innings, three of them singles to rookie left fielder Greg Halman. Following an errant pick-off throw from Danks, Halman scored Seattle's lone run, coming home on Brendan Ryan's single in the eighth. That was the last hitter for Danks, who departed with no chance of adding another losing decision onto his tally.
"Everybody in the clubhouse is very excited," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Danks' victory. "This kid is one of the best teammates in the group and he had everybody rooting for him. This guy is a bulldog."
Danks gave way to Jesse Crain with Ryan on first. Crain struck out Justin Smoak and Ryan was thrown out stealing to preserve the lead. Danks struck out six and walked one.
The White Sox tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on Pierzynski's two-out single against Mariners reliever David Pauley.
"Seattle comes in and that guy starting for them is really good," said Pierzynski, who had two hits. "We scored a couple off him, Paul with the home run and Gordon with a great at-bat. Pauley came in and hadn't given up a run in like two months. It was just one of those nights when we knew runs were going to be at a premium."
The White Sox have now beaten the Mariners 12 times in the last 14 meetings.
"They did a good job defensively against us early on," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "I felt like we had some good passes at the ball and hit the ball hard, but they did a good job defensively and we didn't have anything to show for it. [Danks] got better as the game wore on, too."
The White Sox hit several balls hard off Pineda early, but didn't get anything to show for it. Luckily, Danks matched Pineda zero for zero, winning for the first time in 11 starts this season.
"Very good pitcher," Guillen said about Pineda. "Wow. Very young, but great talent. That fastball is very live. Pretty good breaking ball. Every time you play against Seattle, it seems like you face good pitching. He's not afraid. He was tough."
Center fielder Brent Lillibridge fostered his burgeoning role as a White Sox folk hero with a diving catch in the third. With Halman on first and two outs, Ryan lofted a drive that looked as if it would plug the right-center gap and score the game's first run. Lillibridge raced over and made the grab, laying out parallel to the ground and hanging on as he slid along the grass.
"That was awesome," Danks said. "I thought it was a sure double and a run scoring at least. He made a great play. He's been playing great all year. We like to have him out there."Danks snuffed a two-out rally in the Mariners fifth, striking out Ryan with runners on first and third and two outs. Danks helped his own cause by picking off Seattle's Chone Figgins earlier in the inning.
"It's definitely big to come out there and have a good game, especially coming off my last game," said Danks, who allowed nine runs in his last outing. "It's nice to get the first one under the belt. Too bad it took two months, but better late than never I guess."The White Sox improved to 18-11 since falling a season-high 11 games below .500 on May 6. Chicago has gained 4 1/2 games in the standings in the last week alone. The White Sox fans perhaps offered the best evidence that the season is not yet lost by giving Danks a standing ovation when he was removed from the game in the seventh.
"It's been tough for me, but to feel like our fans are still right there with me is huge," Danks said. "Hopefully that will help me get on a little bit of a roll. We're starting to play pretty good baseball now."
Bradford Doolittle is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.