CHICAGO -- A deflating homestand finally took a turn for the better for the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Thanks to another good home outing by starter John Danks and a late offensive outburst, the White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak by ending the Baltimore Orioles' four-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory in the opener of a three-game series.
The losing streak was bad enough, but the bigger picture was even more bleak for Chicago coming into the game. Not only were the Sox (33-47) mired in last place in the American League Central, but they also were also 15 games under .500 for the first time since 2007, and that far under the break-even mark before the All Star break for the first time since 2001.
Chicago also lost 23 of its previous 31 games and carried a 1-5 record on the current 10-game homestand into this series. In short, the Sox were due for a win.
Danks (2-5) paved the way by going seven-plus innings and allowing two runs. It continued his trend of pitching well in his home ballpark. In four starts at home this season, Danks is 2-1 record with a 2.20 ERA. In four road starts, Danks is 0-4 with a 7.29 ERA, including nine home runs allowed in just 21 innings.
Adam Dunn and Conor Gillaspie each hit home runs to lead the way offensively, with Dunn's majestic two-run blast to right field off Orioles starter Jason Hammel capping a three-run seventh inning. The ball traveled an estimated 427 feet, but more important, it turned a tight game into a 5-1 Sox lead.
An inning earlier, Gillaspie hit a solo shot with one out to break a 1-1 tie and put Danks in line for the win.
Baltimore got one back in the eighth on an RBI single with two outs by Adam Jones, but the Chicago bullpen preserved the lead and Danks' win. Addison Reed pitched a scoreless ninth for his 22nd save.
The White Sox got two hits each from Alexei Ramirez and Gillaspie plus a three-hit performance from second baseman Gordon Beckham.
Brian Roberts drove in Baltimore's only other run with a solo homer to left off Danks in the third.
Hammel (7-5) took the loss by allowing five runs in seven innings. He gave up nine hits and one walk while striking out seven.
NOTES: The White Sox announced the hiring of former slugger Jim Thome as special assistant to GM Rick Hahn. Thome, who lives in nearby Burr Ridge, Ill., will consult with Hahn and assistant general manager Buddy Bell. He will also work with players on the Sox and in the team's minor league system, evaluating performance. ... Chicago got Paul Konerko back in the starting lineup as the designated hitter after lower back stiffness caused him to miss the previous six games. He went 0-for-4. ... Baltimore dealt RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP Pedro Strop and two international signing bonus slots to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for RHP Scott Feldman and C Steve Clevenger. The 30-year old Feldman, who went 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA in his lone season for the Cubs, will get the start Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field against LHP Hector Santiago. Clevenger was immediately assigned to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for the return of LF Nolan Reimold (hamstring) from the disabled list. The Orioles will have to make another roster move to make room for Feldman, once he's placed on the roster Wednesday.