Danks gets best of Hendricks in pitching duel

Danks gets best of Hendricks in pitching duel

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The date was March 18, with still two weeks remaining in Spring Training. But in the White Sox 3-2 victory over the Cubs on Friday at Camelback Ranch, both starting pitchers -- John Danks and Kyle Hendricks -- looked regular-season ready.

Danks threw five scoreless innings, allowing a Jeimer Candelario double in the fourth and nothing more hit-wise. Candelario was doubled off second on Albert Almora's line drive to shortstop Jimmy Rollins. The southpaw struck out seven and walked two.

"Like I said all along, we're all competitive and all have pride and all want to do well," Danks said. "But most of us that have been around understand that there's a bigger picture to Spring Training, and it's a good opportunity to get out there and work on something that will help you during the summer. Of course, it feels good to go out there and have a successful outing and throw the ball where you want, and it's just a step in the right direction."

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It was an important start for Danks -- at least in terms of perception -- as he previously had allowed 13 runs on 13 hits over 9 2/3 innings. The veteran left-hander was not worried about the numbers as much as he was pleased by the work he was putting in with changed mechanics on the mound.

Hendricks was almost as sharp as Danks, allowing one run on two hits in five innings before being replaced by Travis Wood. He struck out three and didn't issue a walk.

"Overall, it was good again and an improvement from my last outing," said Hendricks, who appears to be securing the fifth spot in the Cubs' rotation. "My fastball command felt a little better than my last [outing]. I threw some good curveballs -- probably threw about eight of them and they all felt good. We're moving forward."

Austin Jackson's opposite-field fly ball to Jason Heyward in right scored the lone run off of Hendricks in the third. The inning was set up by Travis Ishikawa's double and Alex Avila's single. That single marked Avila's first Cactus League hit.

Up next for Cubs: Pierce Johnson will make his first spring start Saturday when the Cubs travel to Goodyear, Ariz., to face the Indians at 9:05 p.m. CT on Gameday Audio. Johnson has appeared in three Cactus League games so far, allowing six earned runs on nine hits over four innings. At Double-A Tennessee last season, Johnson was 6-2 with a 2.08 ERA in 16 starts. Ben Zobrist is expected back in the lineup after missing two days with an ingrown toenail.

Up next for White Sox: Chris Sale makes his Cactus League debut Saturday afternoon at Camelback Ranch as the White Sox take on the Dodgers at 3:05 p.m. CT on MLB.TV. Sale has previously been working in simulated games and made a "B" game start in his last outing. Clayton Kershaw gets the start for the Dodgers.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.