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CWS@DET: Eaton scores on bases-loaded hit-by-pitch

DETROIT -- News of the Tigers acquiring David Price from the Rays as part of a three-team deal quickly made its way to the White Sox during their 7-4 victory Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.

It was hard to miss with Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson, who went to the Mariners, pulled from the game during Gordon Beckham's seventh-inning at-bat and replaced by Rajai Davis on a 2-2 count. The White Sox reaction to one of the game's top starters joining the American League Central, in turn, went pretty much as expected.

"As soon as it happened we're like, 'No!'" said White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton with a smile. "They have a good rotation and adding a guy like Price, who is a great pitcher and competitor, he only adds to the mix."

"Pretty good," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the new and improved Detroit rotation in understated fashion. "They got a good player, so it's going to be tough."

But here's the thing about the young and improving White Sox: their reaction came from a place of respect, not necessarily fear. Ventura's crew finished off a 5-2 road trip within the division thanks to their afternoon victory, and moved to within three games of .500 at 53-56.

The AL Central and AL Wild Card standings don't really matter at this point. There are too many teams to climb and too many games to make up for a squad that has stayed around the breakeven mark for most of the '14 campaign. It's also a team that is happy where it stands, even with one of the quieter non-waiver Trade Deadline periods for the South Siders in recent memory coming and going at 3 p.m. CT.

"If there was something there, [general manager Rick Hahn] would have done something," Ventura said. "We know people are making moves all over the place, but we probably expected to have these guys in here today and tomorrow, and that's what we've got."

"We haven't got on a good run yet," White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn said, putting focus back on the team. "Hopefully, this is a big road trip for us. We played pretty well and got the bats working a little bit, so hopefully that continues."

Instead of looking at who the White Sox didn't add, take a look at the results the current reshaping process already is producing.

Eaton, who was acquired from the D-backs as part of a three-team deal during the offseason, finished Thursday's victory with three hits, reached base five times, had two RBIs, two runs scored and one stolen base. He has hit in seven straight games, reached base safely in 17 straight games and reached base safely in 44 of his last 47.

Jose Abreu, to whom the White Sox committed six years, $68 million partially because of the money they freed up through trades involving Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain last July and August, set a personal high by hitting in his 20th straight game. Abreu has hit in 38 of his last 39 contests, with July 5 standing as his only hitless effort during that stretch. The rookie had two doubles, a single and two intentional walks, raising his average to .305.

Moises Sierra matched a career high with four hits, while Ronald Belisario (4-7) earned the victory and Javy Guerra fanned four of the five batters he faced. Belisario was a free-agent signee, while Sierra and Guerra both were waiver claims.

Thursday's game was deadlocked at 4 when the White Sox scored the go-ahead run in the seventh off of Joakim Soria (1-4), in an inning that started with Eaton reaching base via a wild pitch off of a strikeout. Soria hit Paul Konerko with a pitch with the based loaded to force home that run, with Konerko also contributing a single and a double to put him at a franchise-best 4,000 total bases during his 16 years with the White Sox.

"Curveball in the dirt. It's a ball I block a million times," said Detroit catcher Alex Avila of the inning-starting wild pitch. "I should block it. And I didn't. I felt terrible for Soria because it's a whole different inning."

 

John Danks got the start, after rumors rumbled over the last few days concerning interest from the Yankees, but did not factor in the outcome. Danks allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings, striking out two and walking four (one intentionally). The White Sox (53-56) staked Danks to a 3-0 lead, but that advantage evaporated on back-to-back homers from Torii Hunter and J.D. Martinez in the third.

"I don't feel like I did my part as much as obviously the other guys. But we won the game," Danks said. "Certainly frustrating, but at the end of the day, we got the win. It's not an individual game. It's really not."

Just as Danks didn't focus on his personal results, he also didn't spend any time thinking about trade rumors. Dunn pointed out that attention on that matter takes away from rightful attention on baseball.

So, the White Sox will follow the same approach where Detroit's newest acquisition is concerned. The challenge grew greater, but they will focus on what they can control.

"No reason to cry over spilled milk. We're excited for the challenge and we'll see them again in September," Eaton said. "Hopefully, that's an important series."

"Just keep on playing hard," Danks said. "Keep on playing good ball and winning series and see what happens."

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