Game 17: Angels knock out Danks

TEMPE, Ariz. – An Angels’ lineup featuring Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo, among others, could do damage against many pitchers even at the top of their game. In Thursday’s 12-4 White Sox loss, it was John Danks and his road back to the Majors that got taken down over 3 1/3 innings. Here’s a look.

HOME RUN: Tyler Flowers feels good at the plate and backed up that Thursday morning analysis with a strong game at Diablo Stadium. Flowers drew a walk in the third off of Jason Vargas after being down 0-2 in the count and scored, doubled to center in the fifth and lined out to center in the seventh.

TRIPLE: Although he’s not front and center in the roster picture, outfielder Blake Tekotte hit the ball hard Thursday. He tripled home one run, marking his second Spring Training three-bagger, and then added a second RBI with a ninth-inning sacrifice fly.

DOUBLE: Jordan Danks didn’t start Thursday’s game but knocked out two hits and drove in a run as a replacement for Dewayne Wise. It was Wise who drove home the team’s second run with a sixth-inning homer off of left-handed throwing Scott Downs.

SINGLE: A single for Hector Gimenez in the ninth leaves him at 9-for-16 for the spring. All nine hits have been singles.

STOLEN BASE: As the leadoff hitter in the fourth inning, the left-handed hitting Adam Dunn tried to lay down a bunt on the first pitch from left-handed throwing Vargas. The bunt attempt went foul. Dunn, who has 406 career homers, launched the next pitch toward the left field stands but it was hauled in against the wall by left fielder Vernon Wells.

CALLED THIRD: Danks worked 3 1/3 innings, which represents his longest 2013 Cactus League outing to date, and felt good despite allowing six earned runs on seven hits. He focused on the changeup, using it to strikeout Howie Kendrick and Trumbo in the first, but did so in part because that pitch was working the best for him.

He also benefitted from facing as strong of a lineup as the Angels.

“For me especially, I need to see lineups like this down here. Just because more than anyone else in camp, I’m needing to see reactions, and how guys are taking pitches,” Danks said “I just need to kind of get it going a little more — some of these other guys can go out there and just get their work in, and certainly I’m doing the same thing. But I’m hoping to see progress each time.

“I don’t feel like I can really do that unless I’m facing big league hitters. Without a doubt, that’s one of the better lineups we’ll see this year. Wish it could’ve gone a little better.”

White Sox manager Robin Ventura pointed out the good news is that Danks is not hurting, although the White Sox would like slightly better results from their left-hander.

“Once you start getting knocked around a little, it kicked in and he picked it up a little bit,” said Ventura of Danks. “Even though it’s Spring Training, you’d like to see a little bit better than this.”

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: The White Sox are 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position over their past two losses. Jhan Marinez also was touched up for four runs on one hit and three walks in the seventh, but they were all unearned because of Tekotte’s dropped fly ball in center.

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