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BAL@CWS: Danks fans five over seven strong frames

Talk about a tough act to follow.

Just 24 hours after Philip Humber took the mound at Safeco Field and proceeded to spin the 21st perfect game in baseball history, the White Sox and Mariners meet Sunday in the finale of a three-game series.

The pitchers who get to take the stage after Humber brought down the house are John Danks of the White Sox and Kevin Millwood of the Mariners, who actually has a no-hitter of his own -- albeit nine years earlier.

Danks will be trying to put the White Sox in position for the road sweep against the Mariners, and he's coming off a solid seven-inning effort that didn't end well for him or the Sox. Danks took his second loss of the season in a 3-2 home defeat to the Orioles, but in allowing three runs on five hits in seven innings, he reached a key goal of going deep into the game.

How did he go about it and how will he try to follow up Humber's brilliant 96-pitch gem?

"Just trying to stay aggressive, throw strikes, make them hit the ball and let these guys work for me," Danks said. "I think the more efficient I can be, the better chance I have getting deeper into a game, saving the bullpen and hopefully giving us a chance to win. Just try to stay out of hitters counts and try to keep the pressure on them, make them hit my pitch."

Millwood, the 37-year-old veteran, was roughed up his last time out, giving up seven runs (six earned) on nine hits in four innings against the Indians on Tuesday night. There's been a lot of road since his 2003 no-hitter for the Phillies, but Millwood is hoping to help the Mariners with a bounce-back start this time.

"You try to figure out what wasn't working the previous time and try to work on it between starts," Millwood said. "I was up in the zone too much and wasn't able to locate my fastball, and I worked on it in my sides in between, and now I can forget about it and move on to the next one."

This next one happens to take place on the same mound that was marked by perfection Saturday.

White Sox: Konerko has one for books, too
White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko started Humber's historic day with a bit of history of his own.

Konerko's solo home run in the second inning was his 398th career home run, putting him just two shy of a major milestone. He is now tied with Dale Murphy for 50th on the all-time list of career home runs, and with two more homers will pass not only Murphy but also Hall of Famer Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga, both at 399.

Konerko's 31 career homers against the Mariners ranks second among active players behind Alex Rodriguez, who has 32 against Seattle since leaving the team in 2001. The 31 homers are the most Konerko has hit against a non-AL Central club.

• Humber left the bullpen door closed and only got relievers up on their feet to cheer his feat Saturday, but the White Sox 'pen has been fulfilling every bit of its promise recently. Entering Sunday's game, the White Sox bullpen has a string of 9 2/3 scoreless innings, a stretch that dates to April 16.

Mariners: Ichiro takes to No. 3
He wasn't able to break through Saturday, but it's apparent Ichiro Suzuki is taking to his move to the No. 3 spot in the Mariners' order quite nicely.

Ichiro leads the Mariners with nine RBIs in the young season, and Mariners manager Eric Wedge gives him high marks for making the transition from leadoff to more of a run-producing role.

"It looks to me like he's getting more and more comfortable with it, and as our young players continue to develop and be more consistent, it's going to help him and what he's doing," Wedge said. "And it's going to help them."

• Before Saturday, John Jaso had recorded at least one RBI in each of his three games played (all starts) this season, becoming the 12th Mariners player to record at least one RBI in each of his first three games of a season in club history.

Worth noting
• Humber's no-hitter was the first perfect game thrown against the Mariners. They now have had three no-hitters tossed against them, Humber's following Dwight Gooden's for the Yankees in 1996 and a combined one by Mark Langston and Mike Witt in 1990.

• Following Sunday's finale, the White Sox continue their West Coast swing with a three-game series in Oakland starting Monday. The Mariners will welcome the Tigers to town for a three-game set.

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