Danks, a former draft pick of the Rangers, looks to beat his original franchise and help the AL Central-leading White Sox avoid losing three straight games when the teams continue their series on Saturday.
Chicago (53-39) lost 7-2 to Texas on Friday, its second straight loss after an 11-2 stretch. The White Sox, who have not lost three in a row since being swept by the Chicago Cubs June 20-22, saw their division lead shrink to 1 1/2 games over second-place Minnesota.
Chicago was no match for Josh Hamilton and the high-scoring Rangers’ (49-45) offense Friday. Hamilton went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs, increasing his major league-leading RBI total to 93. Hamilton, who will start for the AL in Tuesday’s All-Star game, is batting .387 (12-for-31) with two home runs and 11 RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.
“This lineup we have is very powerful,” said Texas rookie Chris Davis, who hit his sixth home run in his 15th game. “Hopefully we can keep things rolling and get some more wins.”
The Rangers boast the majors’ top scoring offense (519), but their pitching remains problematic. The Rangers have used a major league-high 12 different starting pitchers and have a AL-worst 5.01 team ERA.
Danks (6-4, 2.52 ERA), meanwhile, has the fifth-best ERA in the majors, and possibly could have earned an All-Star invitation had he received more offensive support. The left-hander has posted a 1.11 ERA in his last five starts, but has just two wins in that span as he’s been backed by nine total runs of support.
“The wins weren’t there,” Danks said of his absence from the AL All-Star roster. “Team wins are there, which is what we’re really focused on.”
Danks was selected ninth overall by Texas in 2003. He never pitched for the Rangers, who traded him to the White Sox on Dec. 23, 2006 for pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who has been on the disabled list all season with severe inflammation of the right forearm.
Danks made 26 starts as a rookie last season. He faced Texas for the first time on Aug. 30, and allowed five runs - two earned - and seven hits with eight strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-1 loss.
On Sunday, Danks yielded two runs and four hits with a career-high nine strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Oakland, the eighth time in his last nine starts he’s allowed two runs or fewer.
He’s been at his best on the road, going 3-1 with a major league-best 1.48 ERA in eight starts away from U.S. Cellular Field.
Texas counters with Kevin Millwood (6-4, 4.93), one of its most consistent pitchers.
The team’s opening day starter, Millwood allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings of an 11-10 win at Baltimore on Sunday.
Texas has won six of Millwood’s seven starts at Rangers Ballpark this season.
Millwood defeated Danks last Aug. 30, when he limited Chicago to one run and six hits in seven innings.