Relocated nemesis stings Danks in Seattle

Lefty surrenders four RBIs to Jackson; Flowers belts HR

Relocated nemesis stings Danks in Seattle

SEATTLE -- John Danks was just about the only person as happy as Tigers fans were when Detroit acquired David Price from Tampa Bay in a three-team deal before the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.

That excitement certainly didn't come from Danks welcoming another ace hurler to a Tigers staff already filled with top arms. Instead, the White Sox southpaw was happy to rid the American League Central of Austin Jackson, who had done fairly well against Danks over the course of their careers.

Unfortunately for Danks, Jackson went to Seattle in the deal and was front and center during the Mariners' 4-2 victory over the White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field. In fact, Danks had a steady showing over 6 1/3 innings aside from a couple of pitches to the Mariners' leadoff hitter.

Jackson cleared the bases with a two-out double in the second and added a run-scoring single in the seventh that knocked Danks from the game. Jackson's three hits gave him a career ledger of 21-for-49 with 11 RBIs against Danks, who found a little postgame humor born of frustration in regard to Jackson's head-to-head success.

"I can't escape him," said Danks with a wry smile and shake of his head. "He's a good player. He sees the ball well off of me.

"I've thrown everything I know [how] to. I thought about taking my glove off and firing one in there right-handed just to give him another look. You have to tip your hat. He's hit some good pitches off of me. He's definitely made me answer to some mistakes I've made."

One of those mistakes came in the second inning, when Danks threw a 2-2 changeup to Jackson that cut back over the plate. But it was the way Seattle (62-55) loaded the bases, for Jackson to unload, that stood as a bit mind-boggling but also fitting the pattern for the White Sox recent stretch of seven losses in nine games since Aug. 2.

Danks (9-8) retired the first two hitters in the inning rather easily before Logan Morrison singled. Chris Taylor followed with a slow roller to second that wound up as an infield hit, and slow-footed catcher Jesus Sucre did the same with a tapper down the third-base line.

"It's almost hard to believe everything that happened in that inning," White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. "It really wasn't that bad of a pitch to Jackson; it maybe could have been a little more outside. But the events of that inning were crazy."

"Johnny pitched a good game," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He had a couple of infield rollers, and Jackson had a good day. Johnny pitched well enough to win a game. We just didn't get anything going. Early on we had opportunities and we kept rolling a gutter ball."

Erasmo Ramirez, who made a spot start that allowed Felix Hernandez to pitch Game 1 against the Blue Jays in an all-important series of AL Wild Card contenders, induced two double-play grounders in the first four innings to neutralize the White Sox. Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon pulled Ramirez in the fifth when Flowers was hit by a pitch and Jordan Danks lined his second single of the game to right with one out.

Dominic Leone (5-2) actually entered on a 2-1 count to Gordon Beckham but got him to roll into an inning-ending double play. Beckham finished 0-for-3 and watched his average dip to .220.

Sunday wasn't particularly kind to left fielder Alejandro De Aza, who reached base twice but lost a fly ball to left in the fourth that turned into a double and was picked off first in the sixth. De Aza originally was ruled safe by first-base umpire Toby Basner, but a manager's challenge from McClendon overturned the call.

A ninth-inning rally against closer Fernando Rodney (33rd save) produced one run on Conor Gillaspie's single and left the White Sox (56-63) with the bases loaded and two outs for Jordan Danks. But Rodney used two changeups to strike out the younger Danks, giving the Mariners three wins in this four-game set.

Despite featuring a 9.22 ERA over his last five starts since July 20, Danks pitched a strong game. Jackson made sure, though, that Danks' career 7-1 mark against the Mariners and 4-1 mark at Safeco prior to this series finale wasn't going to improve.

"Some guys hit some pitchers better than others," said McClendon of Danks vs. Jackson. "That's just the way it is. Some guys he stinks against. He just happens to see the ball pretty good off this guy and he hits him good."

"Getting a chance to face him a lot in the past [with Detroit], it definitely helped," Jackson said. "Knowing what he tries to do with me with two strikes -- just knowing what he tries to do to get me out."

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