PHILADELPHIA -- The White Sox could have lost Game 1 of their doubleheader with the Phillies on Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
In fact, they probably should have lost. And if this same game took place just one week ago, they very well would have lost the game.
Instead, the White Sox (37-53) survived a trio of late-inning scares from the Phillies (46-48) and emerged with a 5-4 victory in 11 innings. Since their hard-to-watch loss against the Cubs on Monday night at home, the White Sox have won three of their last four -- even if Saturday's contest looked as if it was going south on a couple of occasions.
"Yeah, it wasn't pretty at all," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It was guys hanging by the skin of their teeth, getting out of jams, and Alexei [Ramirez] had a great game."
Ramirez finished with four hits, including the game-winning double delivered to right-center off of reliever J.C. Ramirez (0-1) with two outs in the 11th. Alejandro De Aza started the rally with a triple to left-center, and Ramirez came around to score an important run on shortstop Jimmy Rollins' fielding error on Alex Rios' hard-hit grounder.
That run was important because Addison Reed (24th save) allowed one Phillies' tally in the bottom of the 11th, before inducing Ben Revere's game-ending double play.
Philadelphia had a chance for a dramatic victory after a 41-minute rain delay in between the top and bottom of the ninth. Kevin Frandsen singled to open the inning against Nate Jones, marking the first career hit against the White Sox for Frandsen, and moved to second on Darin Ruf's single to center. Jones balked the runners up a base, but induced a Carlos Ruiz popout to left fielder Dayan Viciedo, pinch-hitter Laynce Nix's strikeout and Revere's lineout to right fielder Rios.
Ramon Troncoso (1-2) then pitched out of a first-and-third, one-out situation in the 10th by striking out Delmon Young and retiring Frandsen on a routine grounder to Ramirez.
For the fourth straight trip to the mound, starting pitcher John Danks gave his team a quality chance to win. And in a rare change of pace, Danks used his bat to help get the White Sox even.
Josh Phegley and Gordon Beckham opened the fifth with singles off of Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone, putting the tying runs aboard with Philadelphia holding a 2-0 advantage. Danks was called upon to lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, a fundamental skill not consistently shown by the White Sox during the season's first half, but he was up to the challenge. De Aza followed with a two-run double, laced past Ruf at first base.
"Threw me a changeup, I think. That's what [Chris] Sale said," said a smiling Danks of the bunt. "After that first one, I said, 'Boy, I better get it down there.'"
Danks lost the chance for victory when Ruf homered with one out in the seventh. He allowed three runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings and 111 pitches, striking out four and walking one.
Winning decisions aside, Danks seems like just another pitcher in the rotation and not a hurler who has to be watched after coming back from season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery last August.
"We don't look at him like he still has training wheels or you are still careful of how he's pitching," Ventura said. "He was just as strong toward the end that he was in the beginning as far as velocity and location. We don't put any parameters on him as far as pitch count or not feeling confident in him late in the game."
"Certainly I like it," said Danks of his first-half finish. "That's the goal to have something to build upon going into the second half. I feel like I've done that. I know there's a lot of baseball ahead of us. I really haven't proven anything quite yet. I feel like I'm on the right track to get where I want to be."
Adam Dunn reached base five times through two hits and three walks, as the White Sox won their first game following Friday's Matt Thornton trade. That deal makes Danks the second-longest tenured White Sox player on the roster, trailing only Paul Konerko.
"Wow, that's strange," Danks said. "It feels like I've been here forever and feels like I just got here at the same time."