The Rays ended a three game losing streak Saturday night, beating the White Sox 4-0 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago behind efficient pitching. Cesar Ramos pitched five shutout innings without striking out a batter and was the winning pitcher while John Danks, who threw 5.2 innings of four run baseball, was the losing pitcher.
The Rays scored first in this contest in the top of the second inning on a rally started by a one-out James Loney single to right. Loney moved up to second base on a wild pitch by Danks before a Logan Forsythe walk gave the Rays two baserunners. Yunel Escobar struck out, bringing Ryan Hanignan to the plate. Hanigan doubled to left, with the ball getting trapped in foul territory. White Sox left fielder Alejandro De Aza had difficulty returning the ball to the infield, allowing both Rays baserunners to score, giving the Rays an early 2-0 lead. Ben Zobrist grounded out to end the rally.
The Rays added another run in the top of third. Wil Myers hit a one-out ground rule double to right to give the Rays a man in scoring position with Evan Longoria at the plate. Longoria would strike out as the second out of the inning. Sean Rodriguez would keep the inning alive by drawing a walk, bringing Loney to the plate. Loney singled to right, scoring Myers to make the score 3-0 in favor of the Rays. Forsythe flew out to right to end the inning.
Ramos pitched around a leadoff double in the third. Gordon Beckham hit a ball hard to right that was returned nicely by Myers. As Gordon slide into second, it appeared as if shortstop Escobar had a chance to tag him out before he got to the bag. Escobar could not handle what was a pretty good throw from Myers and Gordon was safe at second with no outs. White Sox catcher Adrian Nieto grounded out to second but allowed Beckham to move to third with only one out. Adam Eaton grounded out to the pitcher, keeping Beckham at third.Marcus Semien lined out to Longoria to strand Beckham at third.
The Rays threatened in the top of the fourth but were unable to add any runs. Escobar led off the inning with a single to center and moved to third on Hanigan's second double of the night. Zobrist grounded out to third with White Sox third-baseman Semien attempting to tag Escobar out at third. Escobar was called safe on a close play at the bag. The White Sox elected not to challenge the call on the field. Desmond Jennings struck out and Myers flew out to left to end the inning with two left in scoring position.
Ramos ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth, yielding a leadoff walk to Alejandro De Aza. De Aza moved to second after a Beckham single. Nieto sacrificed to Ramos, giving the Rays an out but moving the runners to second and third. Ramos induced a comebacker to the mound, looked De Aza back to third before throwing the first for the second out of the inning. Ramos was unable to get the third out before bringing Jose Abreu to the plate however, as he walked Semien to load the bases for Abreu. Abreu hit a ground ball that was scooped up by Evan Longoria and caught on a hop by Loney.
Despite a mounting pitch count, the White Sox sent Danks out to begin the top of the sixth. After inducing a groundball out from Escobar and fly ball to the warning track from Hanigan, Danks walked Zobrist. Jennings then tripled off the wall in center field, with Eaton jumping and missing the ball, scoring Zobrist from first to make the score 4-0. Jennings's triple ended Danks's night at 123 pitches, bringing on Hector Noesi. Noesi would go on to get Myers out on a fly ball to left.
Ramos departed after allowing a leadoff single to Dayan Viciedo after throwing 65 pitches, giving way to Brandon Gomes who needed just four pitches to get a double play ball from Paul Konerko and a fly ball from Alexis Ramirez.
Gomes threw three innings of relief without allowing a walk or a hit while throwing just 29 pitches.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was ejected in the bottom of the eighth for arguing about a check swing call from the dugout. After being ejected, he came out to argue with home plate umpire Tim Timmons about the call.
Scott Downs pitched the final two innings for the White Sox while Juan Carlos Oviedo pitched the ninth for the Rays.
After issuing a leadoff walk to Viciedo in the bottom of the ninth, Rays closer Grant Balfour briefly started throwing in the Rays' bullpen. Viciedo would move to second on defensive indifference and third on a wild pitch thrown by Oviedo before De Aza grounded out to finish the shutout for the Rays.
-The Rays needed 117 pitches (70 strikes) to finish the shutout. John Danks needed 123 (63 strikes) to finish 5.2 innings.
-Cesar Ramos has allowed only one run in his last 10 innings pitched. He has only struck out three batters during that span.
-The Rays and White Sox play again tomorrow afternoon at 2:10 ET with the Rays sending David Price to the mound. The White Sox will counter with Scott Carroll, who will be making his Major League debut.