The White Sox offense is still sputtering, but that didn’t keep the team from winning a three-game series against Texas over the weekend.
Gordon Beckham’s 11th-inning walk-off home run earned the White Sox a 3-2 win against the Rangers in front of the Stanley Cup and 33,668 fans at U.S. Cellular Field Sunday. During an afternoon in which the offense went 2-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base, the White Sox managed to find a way to win their second straight game as last week’s losing streak moves into the rear view mirror.
“Anything helps, any win helps,” Beckham said. “If it looks ugly, if we blow somebody out, I don’t really care. I don’t think we care. I just think we need to show up every day and put in the work and try to get some wins here.”
The White Sox know they have a steep climb ahead of them after an eight-game losing streak sent them plummeting toward the bottom of the American League. An offense that has performed below expectations all year continues to struggle — in Saturday’s win, the White Sox went 1-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base — but at this point, this is a team that just needs wins no matter how they come.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
“Winning those tight games finally is huge,” reliever Jake Petricka said. “We’ve always been on the wrong side the last week and half or so. Now it’s going to go our way.”
Petricka and Zach Putnam deserve plenty of praise for their roles in keeping Texas off the board in extra innings to set up Beckham’s walk-off blast.
In the 10th, Putnam bounced a splitter off the plate for a wild pitch that allowed Texas’ Rougned Odor to advance from first to third. After intentionally walking Prince Fielder, Putnam got Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland — who entered the game hitting .303 — to bounce into an inning-ending double play brilliantly turned by Carlos Sanchez and Alexei Ramirez.
An inning later, Petricka intentionally walked Leonys Martin to load the bases for Hanser Alberto with one out. Texas’ No. 9 hitter bounced a chopper to Beckham at third, who fired home to Tyler Flowers to start an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play.
On the first pitch of the 11th inning, Beckham lifted an Alex Claudio changeup into the left field bullpen to end the game.
[ALSO: White Sox welcome Stanley Cup to U.S. Cellular Field]
“Especially when you get the situation where the ball (bounces) off the plate (in the 10th), you can let you mind go into bad places but these guys stuck with it,” manager Robin Ventura said. “The effort level’s there. That’s something that hasn’t changed and these guys, I’m proud of them today of what they did because there were some tough spots and the pitching did great.”
Jose Quintana allowed two runs — both on solo home runs — over his seven innings of work, scattering five hits, two walks and five strikeouts. He took a narrow 2-1 lead into the seventh but quickly was saddled with a no-decision after allowing a leadoff home run to Martin in that frame.
The White Sox got on the board in the sixth when Ramirez blooped a single over Moreland’s head to score Jose Abreu — the team’s first RBI hit with a runner in scoring position since Wednesday. Conor Gillaspie added an RBI on a sacrifice fly immediately after.
Ventura admitted the offense still has a ways to go, though Melky Cabrera’s five-hit game — a career-high for the 11-year veteran — could be an encouraging sign. But until the lineup can start consistently supporting its pitching staff, the White Sox may need to continue to find different ways to win games and stay afloat as the halfway point of the season approaches.
“It’s a great win for these guys,” Ventura said. “The way it’s been going, you finally break through and get some momentum going.”