- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago White Sox understand they will need a strong effort to climb out of the hole they dug.

It would help if their hitters pitched in. The guys on the mound are doing just fine, though.

John Danks pitched four-hit ball into the seventh, and the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 2-0 Friday to split a day-night doubleheader.

Danks (5-8) combined with three relievers on the shutout as Chicago rebounded from a 4-2 loss in the opener. It was the 10th win in 14 games for a team that began the day last in the AL Central and 5 1/2 games out of the wild card.

“Certainly, we know the situation we’re in,” Danks said. “It’s a good opportunity for us, playing one of the teams ahead of us.”

Avisail Garcia tripled and scored on a single by Tyler Flowers in the second inning. Melky Cabrera doubled and came in from third on a wild pitch by Edinson Volquez (8-5), sending the AL Central leaders to their second loss in 10 games.

Danks struck out four and walked four while improving to 9-1 against Kansas City. He exited to loud cheers with a 2-0 lead after Alex Rios drew a base on balls leading off the seventh.

It was the second scoreless outing in three starts for the 30-year-old left-hander, who has struggled since undergoing shoulder surgery in 2012. He shut down Baltimore over seven innings on July 3 before getting roughed up by Toronto.

“We always struggle against Danks,” said Lorenzo Cain, who had two hits in the opener and another in the second game. “He locates really well. He uses his change-up really well. Just keeps us off-balance.”

Jake Petricka retired the lone batter he faced. Zach Duke worked 1 2/3 perfect innings. David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 24 chances, and the bullpen ran its scoreless streak to 19 1/3 innings.

Volquez took his first loss since June 5 despite a strong outing. The righty gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings after going 4-0 in his previous seven starts and had his pitching hand wrapped in ice afterward.

He deflected Gordon Beckham’s comebacker in the first with it and walked off gingerly after Cabrera’s hard grounder to end the third hit high on his left leg.

As if that wasn’t enough, Garcia’s line drive single to center in the fourth grazed Volquez’s glove after he turned to avoid it.

“I told Garcia hey man you better hit a homer. Don’t hit the ball back to me and he started laughing,” Volquez said.

In the opener, Mike Moustakas hit a solo homer in the fifth on the 12th pitch of the at-bat to give the Royals a 2-1 lead, and Rios capped a two-run sixth with his drive off Jeff Samardzija (6-5) after Chicago tied it.

Chris Young (8-5) gave up two runs and three hits, including solo homers to Geovany Soto and Adam Eaton, in five innings.

Young felt his back tightening as the game went on and left after throwing 82 pitches.

Yost said it’s “not serious at all.” And Young expects to make his next scheduled start.

Four relievers combined to shut down the White Sox the rest of the way, with Greg Holland working the ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances.

Samardzija gave up four runs and seven hits in seven innings.

HONORING CHAMPS

The Chicago White Sox are set to hold another championship rally.

They are honoring the 10th anniversary of the 2005 World Series-winning season, with members of that team gathering in Chicago for the celebration. They will participate in the “Parade of Champions” before Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals. Some are scheduled to appear Sunday at the Chicago Theatre for “A Season to Remember: A Night with the 2005 World Series Champions.”

TRANSACTIONS

White Sox RHP Frankie Montas and Royals LHP John Lamb were both sent back to the minors after being called up as the 26th man for the doubleheader.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: RHP Kris Medlen (elbow) rejoined the team and the team will decide in the next two or three days whether to activate him. He is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery and has not pitched in the majors since 2013, when he won 15 games for Atlanta.

White Sox: GM Rick Hahn said RHP Matt Albers (fractured right pinky finger) and RHP Nate Jones, recovering from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow, are progressing in their rehabilitation. RHP Jesse Crain (shoulder), who has not pitched in the majors since 2013, had a setback in an Arizona League game last week and it’s not clear when his next outing will be.

UP NEXT

RHP Jeremy Guthrie (7-5, 5.36) starts for Kansas City, with LHP Jose Quintana (4-9, 3.69) pitching for Chicago.

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