Danks, hitting duo lead White Sox to win
From the top of the lineup, Getz and Fields fuel Chicago
BALTIMORE -- For a couple of guys who weren't the original choices to be the one-two punch at the top of the White Sox lineup, second baseman Chris Getz and third baseman Josh Fields are starting to feel very comfortable in their new roles.
John Danks allowed one run on four hits over seven innings, Jim Thome and Fields homered and the White Sox defeated the Orioles, 8-2, on Wednesday night.
Getz and Fields were in the middle of an offensive resurgence a night after the White Sox were blown out in a 10-3 loss. Getz had a career-high three hits and matched a career-best with two RBIs, while Fields drove in three runs with three hits.
"We don't need to rely on the big boys. Everybody needs to contribute," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Getz had a big day. I'm really excited about Fields. You don't get a couple of hits for a couple of days, and you start to feel a little nervous and not secure. ... They keep the players pumped up."
Getz, who wrestled the second-base job away from Jayson Nix when Nix was injured in Spring Training, was slated to be the club's second hitter behind Dewayne Wise. But when Wise went on the disabled list with a right shoulder separation on April 14, the rookie assumed the leadoff role. That left the two-hole open for Fields, who started the season in the ninth spot in the batting order.
"I'm starting to feel more comfortable as a hitter, not necessarily being at the leadoff position, [but] seeing pitches better, not trying to do too much, working some counts," Getz said. "I was fortunate to get some two-strike hits. That's what I'm obviously going to try to do. Some days it works, some days it doesn't. Today it happened to work out in my favor and I got the team rolling a little bit."
Since moving into the leadoff position, Getz is 10-for-30 (.333) with five RBIs. Fields is 11-for-42 (.262) with a homer and eight RBIs since assuming the spot behind Getz.
Chicago's bats produced a 4-0 lead for Danks after three innings, with each of the first four hitters in the lineup driving in a run.
Carlos Quentin had an RBI single in the first inning, Getz hit a run-scoring single and scored when Fields snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a double in the second and Thome sent a 1-1 Jeremy Guthrie pitch into the left-field seats for his fourth homer of the season -- and No. 545 of his career -- in the third.
"When we score first, you start getting better and better. You get a rhythm," Guillen said. "I think that a lot of pitchers have a problem in the first inning -- they don't know what to do, they don't know what they have and they're trying to figure it out. ... After that, we scored a couple more runs and it stopped that."
Danks (2-0) kept the Orioles off balance early, often getting them to guess wrong and flail at pitches. He finished his longest outing of three starts this season by retiring 19 of the final 21 hitters he faced. He walked none and struck out three.
Oddly enough, Danks felt like he was fighting himself in the early going.
"I was telling Jerry [Owens] on the bench, it's a good game, obviously, on paper, but I didn't really have a whole lot of fun," Danks said. "After the third inning, I was sitting at 60 pitches or something like that and I was just hoping to get through five. ... Fortunately I had a couple of quick innings and I was able to catch up on [my] pitch count. I definitely have to work on that."
Luke Scott spoiled Danks' shutout bid in the fifth, hitting a one-out pitch into the bleachers in right-center field. Scott's third homer of 2009 snapped a string of 11 straight Orioles set down by Danks.
"Danks, every day he wants to get better, and that's the result," Guillen said. "The longer the starters go, the better ballclub we're going to [be]."
The left-hander said the key to maintaining his rhythm was not getting frustrated when the Orioles went deep into counts by fouling off pitches. Danks finished with 103 pitches, throwing 70 for strikes.
"It was just a lot of foul balls. I think I was throwing strikes and had plenty of stuff," Danks said. "It was just that they were fighting off good pitches. I guess they were putting the ball in play a little quicker. I felt I was ahead most of the time. I had pretty good stuff. We'll take it."
Once he had the lead, Danks could settle in, no matter what the Orioles were doing to confound him.
"We try to score the runs for those pitchers so they can do their work, so they can feel comfortable out there," Getz explained. "They're putting up zeros and ... it takes pressure off and lets them do their thing."
Fields connected off O's reliever Dennis Sarfate in the seventh for his third hit and his first home run of the year.
The offensive outburst helped answer a lingering question in Guillen's mind.
"I wanted to see how this team bounced back from yesterday. ... We've been doing that real well this year," the manager said. "Every time we lose a big game, a pretty bad game, we come back and play well the next day."
Guthrie (2-1) lasted six-plus innings and gave up five runs on eight hits, walked three and struck out two.
Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.