Four home runs power Reds to victory

Four home runs power Reds to victory

Four home runs power Reds to victory
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When John Danks and Drew Stubbs run into each other during the season or when they are working out in Texas during the offseason, they can reminisce about Monday's Cactus League matchups during the Reds' 9-1 victory over the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

Danks retired the Cincinnati outfielder via a ground ball to third baseman Omar Vizquel in the first inning and struck him out in the third. But Stubbs got the best of the White Sox left-hander in the fifth, launching a three-run, opposite-field home run to right field for the game-winner in the Cactus League home finale for the White Sox.

Stubbs' home run followed a Ramon Hernandez single, and Paul Janish reaching on a rare Vizquel error. Bragging rights ultimately go to Stubbs from this contest.

"It's fun to face your buddies, and it's a lot more fun to get them out," said a smiling Danks on Stubbs' connection. "But you know, it's good. I'm where I need to be.

"I'm excited about the first game, excited about getting out of here and playing games that count. I feel I'm ready and am looking forward to the start of the season."

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Danks worked five innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits. Jonny Gomes also homered off Danks leading off the second, leaving the southpaw with four long balls given up this spring. But the numbers don't matter to Danks as much as how he feels going into his first start on April 3 against the Indians, and that feeling is a good one.

"Today was excellent," Danks said. "I made two mistakes that got hit pretty hard, but today was my best game yet. Mechanically, I was throwing the same and it was a good all-around game, minus the two home runs."

Mike Leake started for the Reds, and the White Sox could get to him for just one run on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two. Brent Lillibridge picked up the lone RBI with a fifth-inning single.

Brian Barton crushed a three-run homer in the eighth inning off reliever Will Ohman to make it a 7-1 margin following Vizquel's second error of the game.

Mike Costanzo's two-run shot in the ninth completed the scoring.

Reds up next: Prior to pulling up Spring Training stakes and heading home to Cincinnati, the Reds will meet the Indians in their Cactus League finale on Tuesday at 3:05 p.m. CT at Goodyear Ballpark. Bronson Arroyo, mononucleosis diagnosis or not, is scheduled to start, in front of the Reds' anticipated Opening Day lineup. Those regulars are due to play the first five innings.

White Sox up next: The White Sox close out their 2011 Cactus League schedule with a game Tuesday afternoon against the Royals in Surprise, Ariz. All of the White Sox big league level pitchers will work in Minor League games back at Camelback Ranch, but the lineup, aside from catcher Donny Lucy, will be made up entirely of position players from the 25-man roster, such as Juan Pierre, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko. The White Sox leave Tuesday afternoon for Winston-Salem, N.C., where they will play an exhibition game against their Class A affiliate on Wednesday.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Being Ozzie Guillen, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.