By Paul LaTour
Batting practice didnt go well for Gordon Beckham before Fridays White Sox game against Seattle. Actually, he said it was terrible.
That didnt prevent him from having a career night at the plate against a former Cy Young Award winner.
Beckham hit two home runs in a game for the first time to provide early offense in Chicagos 7-4 victory. Both came off Felix Hernandez, who had allowed only one previous home run against right-handed batters all season.
I felt terrible in BP today, Beckham said. It was just one of those things where I got in the game and got a good feel, and there you go. Which should tell you a lot about batting practice.
Beckham accomplished his feat in front of 19,168 fans at U.S. Cellular Field. But two in particular meant the most to Beckham. His mom and dad were visiting and got to see their sons two home-run performance in person.
A lot of the times when they come, they feel like they put a little more pressure on me, Beckham said. So its nice to do that when they are here and let them know thats not the case.
Beckham finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs to extend his hitting streak to eight games. He just missed getting another RBI hit in the eighth when a diving catch by Michael Saunders in center robbed him of a hit during Chicagos three-run rally.
Hes been swinging the bat real good, Adam Dunn said of Beckham. He just looks hitterish now. Every at bat looks like hes going to do some damage. Hitting has a lot to do with confidence, and he looks like he has it right now.
Thats evident by his hitting streak. Over the eight-game stretch, Beckham is hitting .333 with a double, two home runs, three RBIs and nine runs scored to raise his season average to .229.
Im seeing it OK, but I still have a lot of room for improvement, he said. Im still learning. I guess thats a good thing if Im upset after a two-home run game.
After hitting a two-run homer in the first, Beckham combined with Dunn to hit back-to-back homers in the fifth as the Sox built a 4-0 lead.
He had a great game tonight, manager Robin Ventura said. Felix is tough. Thats not an easy at bat, and he was able to put two good swings on him. That was a big lift for us to get the home runs from him.
The Sox wouldnt be on a nine-game winning streak or 13-1 in their past 14 games if they werent getting contributions from players such as Beckham. Alexei Ramirez and Alejandro De Aza came up with clutch hits in the decisive eighth inning. Dayan Vicedo has also been hot in recent weeks to go along with Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios and Dunn.
Were playing good baseball and were picking each other up, Beckham said. Thats really important. Everybody is pulling for one another. That often gets overlooked in big league sports, but we all want everybody to do well.