CHICAGO – In a lost season, John Danks found something encouraging.
Danks allowed four runs in the first two innings of the White Sox's 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
From his perspective, though, the next five innings were more important.
"From the third inning on, that's what I hope to be from this moment on – a groundball machine that's throwing strikes and working quick and trying to get our guys back up to the plate as quickly as possible," Danks said.
"I know what I need to work on," he said. "I've talked to (pitching coach Don Cooper, trainer Herm Schneider) and everybody. It's my job to go do it now."
Danks retired 16 straight batters, 12 on routine groundballs, from final out of second inning through the seventh. His fastball wasn't any faster, but his command, location and pitch selection all were better.
"He was down in the zone more," manager Robin Ventura said. "Earlier in the game, he was up in the zone and just didn't have a feel for it and they made him pay. They were jumping on stuff early.
It wasn't enough for Danks (4-14) to avoid the loss, mainly because Twins starter Scott Diamond pitched into the seventh inning for his first win since June.
Diamond (6-11) allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings to earn his first big league win since June 20 against the White Sox. Since then, he was 0-5 with a 6.20 ERA in eight starts and spent more than a month at Triple-A Rochester.
"I was really happy," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He threw the ball. Got us deep in the game. For the most part worked ahead in the count and used his pitches."
Minnesota had only scored four runs during the first two games of the series, but matched that in the first two innings, scoring once in the first and three times.
Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Colabello, Eric Fryer and Brian Dozier drove in runs that helped the Twins win for the second time in eight games.
Diamond improved to 3-0 against Chicago.
Glen Perkins pitched a scoreless ninth for his 36th save in 40 tries, snapping the White Sox's five-game winning streak against the Twins.
Diamond's day ended in the seventh when he allowed Jordan Danks' two-run single to right, cutting the lead to 4-3. But Casey Fien struck out Josh Phegley and Conor Gillaspie, pinch hitting for Leury Garcia, flew out to right to end the inning.
The Twins increased their lead in the second, scoring three times on five hits. Colabello's RBI single scored Ryan Doumit from second for a 2-0 lead, then Fryer, making his first major league start, singled to center to drive in Colabello. After Presley popped out, Dozier's single to center brought in Eduardo Escobar for the inning's third run.
Diamond carried a shutout into the fourth until Alejandro De Aza hit a full-count pitch into the bullpen in right field, cutting the Minnesota lead to 4-1. The homer was De Aza's 16th, and his first since Sept. 3 at New York.
NOTES: Ventura said LHP Hector Santiago would get another start this season. Santiago isn't among Chicago's scheduled starters for its series this weekend in Detroit, but he could start against the Tigers if somebody else needs to be skipped. ... Part of the reason Gardenhire chose Wednesday to give Fryer his first major league start was because Fryer and Diamond worked together in the minors. ... The White Sox honored INF Micah Johnson before the game for leading the minors with 84 stolen bases. Johnson played at three levels (Low-A, High-A, Double-A) and was a part of the Birmingham team that won the Southern League championship. . On Thursday in Oakland, Minnesota will start Kevin Correia (9-12, 4.31) against the Athletics' Dan Straily (10-7, 4.11). Chicago is off, and on Friday, Andre Rienzo (2-2, 5.04) is expected to face Detroit's Max Scherzer (19-3, 2.95).