CHICAGO (AP) -- Given how much time had passed, it figured that John Danks would have trouble remembering his previous win.
"I think it was in June sometime," he said.Almost. Mid-July was the correct answer.Danks celebrated his 23rd birthday with his first win in 12 starts, taking a shutout into the eighth inning to lead the Chicago White Sox past the Oakland Athletics 4-1 Tuesday for a two-game split.Chicago just missed its third shutout in four games, and this performance came against a team that entered with the American League's best record. The Athletics won six of their first seven on this eight-game road trip, but they couldn't touch Danks after beating Mark Buehrle 2-1 on Monday.Carlos Quentin hit a three-run homer in the fourth, and that was enough to make the left-hander a winner for the first time since he beat Cleveland on July 16.Danks (1-1) left to a standing ovation and tipped his cap after Travis Buck singled with two outs in the eighth. He held the Athletics to five singles while striking out four and walking two, lowering his ERA from 8.00 to 4.32 even though he didn't think he had his best stuff. What he had, though, was a big improvement over his previous outing, when he got knocked out in the third against Minnesota."You know, last year if I felt like I did today I probably wouldn't have made it out of the third or fourth inning," Danks said. "I would have tried to overthrow. Today I didn't feel like I had the best stuff I've had but I just kind of went out there with the best stuff I had and kind of went on from there. I don't know. I feel like I'm taking those steps forward and growing."Bobby Jenks came on with runners at first and third in the ninth after Scott Linebrink walked Daric Barton and allowed a single to Mike Sweeney. Jenks threw two pitches, resulting in a sacrifice fly for Emil Brown and double-play grounder by Bobby Crosby, for his fifth save in five opportunities.Oakland's Dana Eveland (1-1) had a tough time gripping the ball on a dry but windy afternoon, allowing four runs -- three earned -- in 4 2/3 innings. He walked three, struck out two and hit two after allowing a total of one run in his first two starts, against Cleveland and Toronto."I started trying to force it and started to lose my mechanics because of it," Eveland said. "I started flying open a bit and drifting. I just got out of whack and could never really get back on track after that long fourth inning."Eveland started having control problems when he plunked Nick Swisher in the right shin with two outs in the third, threw a wild pitch and walked Orlando Cabrera before getting out of trouble. Eveland then hit Paul Konerko leading off the fourth and walked Joe Crede before Quentin, in a 2-for-17 skid, turned on a belt-high fastball. He flipped his bat and watched as the ball sailed deep into the left-field seats, his second homer giving the White Sox a 3-0 lead."I'm trying to get more consistent," Quentin said. "I'm trying not to give away at-bats. I feel like I'm doing all right doing that."Crede chased Eveland in the fifth with a single that drove in Jermaine Dye, who had singled and advanced to second on a throwing error by third baseman Donnie Murphy.The White Sox were without Jim Thome, who was fined and suspended for one game for vehemently arguing a called third strike during a game against Detroit last week. He decided to serve his punishment rather than appeal in part because he was not scheduled to play, anyway.While their slugger sat, the White Sox did enough at the plate and plenty in the field to support Danks.Alexei Ramirez, starting in center, made a perfect throw to cut down Brown going for a double leading off the second. Crede dove to his right to stop a hard smash by Mark Ellis in the sixth, and Quentin made a catch against the left-field wall in the seventh."I really felt like I could throw a ball right down the middle and if it stayed in the yard it was going to get caught," Danks said.The Athletics, meanwhile, shrugged off the loss at the end of a successful road trip."We played great," Crosby said. "We played three really good teams."
The Athletics wore No. 42 to commemorate the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier, as did Swisher, Dye, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, first base coach Harold Baines and third base coach Jeff Cox. Thome was scheduled to wear No. 42. ... Crosby also made an error at SS in the fifth, when he dropped a pop fly behind the mound after his glove hit second baseman Ellis. With the two errors, Oakland has committed at least one in eight straight games -- 10 in all during that span.