White Sox

Gordon Beckham bails out Robertson as White Sox walk off Reds

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Gordon Beckham bails out Robertson as White Sox walk off Reds

David Robertson wasn’t at his best for the first time this year. But Gordon Beckham’s heroics meant the White Sox closer didn’t have to be perfect.

After Robertson blew his first save and allowed his first run of the season, Beckham delivered a two-out walk-off single off Cincinnati All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman to deliver a 4-3 White Sox win in front of 20,123 at U.S. Cellular Field Sunday afternoon.

“To come back and win in the ninth to kind of pick him up and just give him that confidence that he doesn't always have to shut it down 1, 2, 3 and we can still the win the game was important,” Beckham said.

The White Sox entered the ninth inning leading 3-1 and deployed Robertson, who hadn’t allowed a run in 12 previous appearances. But the Reds quickly rallied and Zack Cozart turned around a Robertson fastball for a game-tying two-run double, which nearly put the White Sox in a precarious position.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

John Danks’ seven innings of one-run ball were crucial with the White Sox bullpen taxed after Saturday’s doubleheader, in which both the team’s long relievers — Scott Carroll and Carlos Rodon — combined to throw 10 2/3 innings. The White Sox used only Robertson and Zach Duke out of the bullpen Sunday, but had the game gone to extras manager Robin Ventura might’ve been forced to turn to Hector Noesi (who left Saturday's game after taking a liner off his back) or Jose Quintana (whose bullpen day was Sunday).

The game appeared destined for a 10th inning after Chapman blew a 102 mile per hour fastball past Jose Abreu and got Adam LaRoche to ground out. But Avisail Garcia muscled a fastball to center for a single, and Alexei Ramirez followed with a base hit off his fellow Cuban native.

Beckham then flipped a 100 mile per hour 2-2 fastball into right-center for the game-winning hit. Chapman, like Robertson, entered Sunday having not allowed a run in 13 games.

“We were a little short in the pen so we were going to have to scramble to see who we were going to use,” Ventura said. “… It's a big win. It's always a big win when you win walking off, but as short as we were in the pen, it's even bigger.”

[MORE: White Sox figuring out plans for Rodon]

The White Sox have now won all five series they’ve played at home, but have an MLB-worst 2-11 record away from U.S. Cellular Field (the next worst is Philadelphia at 4-13). While an 0-5 road trip to Baltimore and Minnesota featured unpredictable circumstances, the White Sox should have a relatively normal six-game swing to Milwaukee and Oakland this week.

And with it will come an opportunity to continue to pull out of this spring’s early tailspin. Sunday’s walk-off win was a good start.

“The last road trip was very strange for us,” Robertson said. “With the two games being canceled and then playing a game without fans, that was difficult and very awkward. Our schedule was kind of thrown off there. We didn’t play well against Minnesota. We do need to pick it up and hopefully these upcoming series, we’ll be able to win some ballgames.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

With the White Sox in the middle of a rebuild, Chuck Garfien spoke with 3 Houston Astros All-Stars who explained how they went from a rebuilding team to World Series champions. Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman talk about how they dealt with losing, how they learned how to win, the importance of adding veterans to the young core, and how they kept hope alive during the rebuild.  Then later, Chuck spoke with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain trying to understand how he dominated the White Sox for so many years.

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jose Abreu didn’t come to the White Sox to be a leader. But that’s what he is as he took his spot among the best in baseball at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

Abreu is the face of the South Side baseball club and he’s had a stellar-enough first four and a half seasons in Major League Baseball to earn the distinction of a starter in the Midsummer Classic. But Abreu, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look at himself as one of the best in the game. He looks as himself as a hard-worker.

“I don’t believe that I’m the best,” Abreu said through a team translator on Monday. “I’m just a person who likes to work hard every day and try to do my best.”

That humility is nothing new to folks who follow the White Sox on a regular basis. And neither is talk of Abreu’s work ethic, the admiration of everyone involved with the team and a constant talking point from Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all Abreu’s teammates.

Abreu has become as important for his off-the-field roles as he has for his on-the-field production for this rebuilding White Sox team. He’s been described as a role model for all the young players in the organization, whether they’re on the big league roster right now or coming up through the system.

“None of them have told me that yet,” Abreu joked. “But I know that. It’s definitely a compliment, and I take it as something that makes you feel good, something that makes you keep moving forward and to keep trying to help the guys to improve and get better as a team. You feel like that is a big honor, that people think that way of you.”

As good as he feels to be held in such esteem, Abreu didn’t set out to be one of this team’s leaders when he came to the United States. And to be honest, he might not be in his current position if it weren’t for the team’s rebuilding effort. Abreu is one of the few veterans on this team.

“That was something that happened. I didn’t look for it,” Abreu said. “I was always trying to help people and trying to give advice to help people to improve. But I never tried to be a leader. If people say that because of what I do, that’s good, but that’s not something that I’m trying to force or something that I say, ‘I want to be a leader.’ No, that’s not who I am. I am just the kind of person who likes to help people, who likes to give advice.”

Abreu is seemingly the definition of what the White Sox want their next winning roster to be full of. And whether it’s the special relationship he has with fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada or the role-model status he holds in the eyes of his other teammates, both current and future, he’s helping the White Sox develop those kinds of players.

Oh, and he’s generally — though this season has seen an extended slump and atypical numbers — one of the most consistently productive hitters in the game.

Who wouldn’t want all that as the face of the franchise?

“It’s all a blessing. I can’t ask for anything else,” Abreu said. “I’m a true believer that if you work hard, good things are going to happen. That’s why I work hard every day, I try to do my best, I try to improve every day and just to be a better person. Not just a better player, but a better person.”