CHICAGO -- Josh Beckett wasn't thinking too far ahead. His manager couldn't help himself, though.
"He looks like he's primed to go ahead and be the guy that we need," Terry Francona said.
And if Beckett keeps this up, the Boston Red Sox could be in good shape when the postseason arrives. The right-hander's struggles appear to be behind him after another dominant outing.
Kevin Youkilis' broken-bat single ended the no-hit bid, and J.D. Drew's two-run double put Boston ahead 2-1. Jed Lowrie added a two-run double in the ninth as the Red Sox gained a four-game split and moved within four games of first-place Tampa Bay in the AL East. They are two games up on Chicago in the wild-card race.
While Danks retired his first 17 batters, the White Sox did little against Beckett (11-8). They fell out of first place in the AL Central, a half-game behind Minnesota.
Beckett yielded seven hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter for his second consecutive win after losing three straight.
"I don't think he's had the best luck in the world this year," Francona said.
But the manager sees it changing. He sees a 20-game winner last year performing like his usual self. And he sees a team primed to make a run if Beckett keeps pitching this way.
Beckett simply sees Blue Jays in his future.
"I'm not thinking about my start six weeks from now," he said. "I'm just thinking about my next start against Toronto."
On Monday, he gave a dominant performance to counter a show by Danks that was "as good as we've seen," Francona said.
Danks (9-5) did not allow a base runner until he hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a pitch in the sixth. Youkilis' single to center with one out in the seventh ended the bid for the first White Sox no-hitter since Mark Buehrle's gem against Texas on April 18, 2007.
"You can't help but notice (the cheers)," Danks said. "My main goal is to get us into the eighth inning with the lead, and unfortunately I wasn't able to do it. It was tough knowing we had a one-run lead against a team like this, that any one of them can hit a homer at any time. I knew there wasn't much room for error with Beckett. He's a great, proven pitcher and he had his 'A' stuff today."
Danks took his first loss since May 24 despite allowing just two hits and two walks while tying a career high with nine strikeouts in seven innings. He was 6-0 in his previous 13 starts.
He was as sharp as he's been all season, changing speeds and location, and the result was one off-balance swing after another.
The crowd roared when Drew struck out swinging at a high fastball to end the fifth, and the anticipation continued to build. There were groans when Danks hit Ellsbury with a 1-1 pitch in the sixth, but Coco Crisp grounded out to end the inning.
Dustin Pedroia opened the seventh with a fly to left before Youkilis broke up the no-hit bid.
After Lowrie's two-run double in the ninth, Ellsbury added an RBI single to make it 5-1.
"It's just frustrating for us to have (Danks) pitch as well as he did and not come out of there with the win," Swisher said.
- The Red Sox held the slumping David Ortiz out of the lineup to rest his surgically repaired left wrist.
- Chicago's Ken Griffey Jr., who missed the previous two games with general soreness, moved into a tie with George Brett for 16th place on the career list with 5,044 total bases when he singled leading off the fifth.
- White Sox slugger Carlos Quentin got hit by Beckett's pitch in the eighth, the fifth straight game he's been plunked. He's been hit a major league-high 19 times this season.
- Chicago RHP Scott Linebrink, on the disabled list since July 26 with right shoulder inflammation, wasn't sure when he'll return after having it re-examined. "It is taking a little bit longer than originally expected," he said.