Improving White Sox beat Texas

MLB roundup: Sale falls short of strikeout record

They might be out of the playoff picture by quite a bit in the American League, but the Chicago White Sox are playing like they’re right in the thick of things.

They’ve undergone significant changes through trades and other transactions, and the result is a team that’s playing its best baseball of the season by far. After beating the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field to win two of the three games in the series, the Sox have now won five of seven series they’ve played since the nonwaivers trade deadline passed.

“You have different people and it morphs into something else,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “Anytime you start putting different people in there, a different kind of a feeling happens and they’re playing well. You’re scoring runs, you’re getting the hit when you need it and guys are pitching well … so you’re looking at a team that just feels different.”

Their recent run of success against the Rangers (75-55), however, looked the same. Chicago has now won the season series against Texas in back-to-back years and won two straight series this year against the AL West’s top team. The Sox have also prevailed in seven of the past eight games against the Rangers and 12 of the last 17.

This time, the Rangers were beaten by a former prospect they drafted in the first-round and developed. John Danks threw a strong six innings and picked up the win for the Sox (54-75), who also got solo homers by catcher Josh Phegley and outfielder Jordan Danks — whose shot to right with one out in the fourth gave his brother a 3-2 lead.

It was the first time since 1955 that one brother has supported another brother’s start with a home run. The last to do the same were the Shantz brothers, with Billy homering in support of Bobby’s start for the Kansas City Athletics.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” said Jordan Danks, who entered the game in the fourth after starting right-fielder Avisail Garcia left the game after crashing into the outfield wall. “Anytime I’m able to come into the game, especially when John’s pitching, I definitely want to do something cool. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run there, but I ended up running into one. It was a very cool feeling.”

Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn also drove in runs for the White Sox, with Beckham’s RBI giving Chicago a 2-0 lead in the second after Craig Gentry dropped his line drive to center field.

Former Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza, who was dealt to Texas prior to the trade deadline, took the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits in seven innings of work. Garza struck out eight, but didn’t get enough run support to be taken off the hook.

Texas tied the game at 2-2 on Jeff Baker’s two-run homer off Danks in the fourth, but the Rangers failed to convert two prime scoring opportunities in the fifth and seventh innings. Adrian Beltre ended each of those innings by hitting in double plays.

He first lined a shot to Sox third baseman Jeff Keppinger, who doubled off Elvis Andrus and then grounded into a more conventional double play to end the Rangers’ seventh with the bases loaded.

“We had many chances, especially myself,” Beltre said. “I think this one’s on me. It doesn’t matter how hard you hit it. It’s where you place it. I hit the ball good (in the fifth), but the final result is a double play.

“The last at-bat, I should’ve had a better at-bat than that. I just threw that at-bat away, especially in that situation with bases loaded (and) one out. I just made a mistake and I wasn’t able to get a hit or keep the (rally) going.”

Addison Reed pitched the ninth and collected his 35th save in 40 tries, and his ninth save in his last nine chances.

As for Garcia, who crashed hard into the wall in right field chasing after Baker’s home run, Ventura said the talented rookie passed all the concussion protocols.

“He’s good,” Ventura said. “Some of that was (because) he was a little dehydrated (Saturday) night, so I think that was probably some of it today. I think he just felt a little light-headed, but they ran all the tests and everything and he doesn’t have a concussion.”

While Garcia went to get checked out in the clubhouse, the younger Danks — who finished 2-for-3 — wasted little time helping his brother out with the bat. He clubbed his home run in the bottom of the inning he came into the game.

“We hope Avi’s OK and I went and apologized to him for letting (Baker) hit the ball that hard out there to him,” John Danks said. “Obviously it’s a little extra special that it was Jordan (who hit the homer). For us to score two runs and we give two right back, it kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit and he picked us up.”

NOTES: White Sox bench coach Mark Parent was ejected before the game, during the lineup exchange, by crew chief Jerry Layne. … Garcia left the game after going 0-for-1 in his lone at-bat, which ended his 11-game hitting streak. … Danks’ home run extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games. … Jerry Hairston, who played for the “Winnin’ Ugly” Sox in 1983, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Texas appears to have caught a break with CF Leonys Martin, who missed Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle. The X-rays taken after he twisted the ankle Saturday night came back negative. … Yu Darvish had leg cramps and nothing worse as he left his start in the seventh inning on Saturday.