Gordon Beckham hits HR, drives in 3 to help Sox snap 4-game skid
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org September 3, 2012 10:36PM
Sox batter Gordon Beckham clubs a two-run homer in the second inning of the Chicago White Sox 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins Monday September 3, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: October 5, 2012 6:21AM
Paul Konerko knows the best way to approach the drama of a September pennant race is to assume tough times are ahead.
‘‘We had Detroit [last] weekend and could have controlled them and didn’t,’’ Konerko said Monday. ‘‘Now we have to assume they’re going to play well, and we have to take care of our business. However many games are left is kind of irrelevant. ... It’s grueling and it’s tough.’’
Grueling and tough could describe the White Sox’ homecoming game against the struggling Minnesota Twins. But after closer Addison Reed gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, he struck out Jamey Carroll and got a game-ending double-play ball from Alexi Casilla to preserve a 4-2 victory.
With the Detroit Tigers losing their afternoon game against the Cleveland Indians, the Sox regained sole possession of first in the American League Central.
‘‘Last week wasn’t good for us, but I’m glad we started off with a win at home,’’ said Gordon Beckham, the offensive hero with a two-run homer in the second inning against starter Samuel Deduno (5-3). Beckham’s single in the eighth drove in Alexei Ramirez with another run that was just as important to manager Robin Ventura.
‘‘The homer is nice, but what wins you games is those late runs,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘It eases the bullpen and gives them breathing room.’’
Ventura used six relievers after rookie Hector Santiago gave the rotation a lift, working into the sixth and holding the Twins to one run and three hits — the only run a homer by Carroll, who hadn’t hit one since Aug. 9, 2009.
‘‘Hector did a great job,’’ Ventura said of the lefty who started the season as the Sox’ closer. ‘‘You ask him to start, a guy who has been the closer, then went to the bullpen. We send him down to get stretched out. Then you ask him to stop a losing streak, and he did.’’
Santiago (3-1) watched the Sox’ Sunday night loss to the Tigers.
‘‘I got home and watched the entire game,’’ he said. ‘‘I knew what [Monday] meant. I wanted to go out there and try to help the team win.
‘‘I felt comfortable. I just tried to go hitter to hitter.’’
The Labor Day crowd of 21,676 saw the Sox shake off the disappointment of the road trip and end a four-game losing streak.
‘‘The best way to get going again is to get out there and play hard and get a ‘W,’ ’’ said Konerko, whose seventh-inning single drove in Kevin Youkilis for the Sox’ third run.
‘‘It’s already away,’’ Ventura said of the road losses and Detroit sweep. ‘‘You are already on to another team. There are 30 games left, so no matter who won last night or lost last night, you still have to win games from this point forward, so there’s no sense feeling sorry for yourself because nobody else is going to. Just get ready for today and work on the things you need to work on and refocus.’’
The ups and downs September will bring will be ‘‘a learning curve’’ for the team, Ventura said.
‘‘You can lose the game or lose the series and still have to come back and play and be prepared for the next night,’’ he said. ‘‘There are worse circumstances than what we are in right now.
‘‘You have to focus on the game and not the consequences. It doesn’t help you to think about what can happen if you lose. It’s more about staying in the moment, playing and taking care of what you can take care of.’’