Beckham, Konerko lead White Sox to 3rd straight win over Cubs
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter May 7, 2014 10:20PM
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Updated: May 16, 2014 11:44PM
The 21,075 fans who attended the Crosstown Series game between the Cubs and White Sox Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field couldn’t have been surprised to see Gordon Beckham and Paul Konerko pound lumps on the Cubs.
Beckham and Konerko always seem to do just that, especially at home, and it was more of the same in an 8-3 Sox victory.
Beckham, who broke out of a slump with a 4-for-5 night and home run at Wrigley Field in the Sox’ 5-1 win Tuesday, hit his second home run in as many nights Wednesday, a three-run shot to center field against left-hander Travis Wood in the fourth inning. Not to be out-done, Konerko drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double in the fifth off Wood. Konerko added a double that was misplayed by right fielder Ryan Kalish.
After beating the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday and Tuesday, the Sox (18-17) clinched the Crosstown Cup prize with a win in the first of two games on the South Side. The 21,075 tickets sold were easily the least for a Cubs-Sox game – the previously low was 30,282 in June 19, 2012 U.S. Cellular Field.
Beckham, who has hit six homers against the Cubs (11-21), went into the game hitting .333 with a double, triple, two home runs and eight RBI in 11 games in Cubs games at U.S. Cellular Field. Konerko, who is adapting to a new role as a starting DH against lefties and pinch-hitter, was batting .283 with 13 homers and 30 RBI in 39 career home games in the series.
“Everybody wants him to do as well as possible because he’s not getting in there a ton,’’ Beckham said of Konerko, who has hit safely in his last four games. “Everything he’s done his whole life he’s having to do the opposite now. He’s a creature of habit and for him not to play and still go out there and be successful is good for him. He realizes he doesn’t need a routine. He’s just that good.’’
“He’s been doing that his whole career, that’s nothing new,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s nice for him to come through like that with limited at-bats. He gets a charge out of that.’’
Wood didn’t seem right after getting hit by Moises Sierra’s broken bat during the fourth inning. He walked the bottom two hitters in the Sox lineup, Marcus Semien and Adrian Nieto, after that. And then Beckham went deep.
In the next inning, Konerko clearned the bases with his double.
Sox left-hander John Danks, who hadn’t won in his last five starts at home and gave up 12 runs on 17 hits over his previous two starts against the Rays and Indians, got well against the Cubs’ light-hitting lineup. Danks pitched six innings, allowing three runs on four hits and one walk while striking out eight.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria seemed to think Danks was getting help from plate umpire Tom Woodring, who ejected Renteria when Renteria went to the mound to remove Wood (four innings, five walks, eight hits, eight runs) during the fifth. It was the third time Renteria was tossed for arguing balls and strikes.
“They have a tough job,’’ Renteria said. “At certain times we disagree so we let them know.’’
Said catcher Wellington Castillo, who argued with Woodring and waved a finger toward the ump’s face after being called out on strikes: “He missed a lot of pitches.’’
Jose Abreu doubled in his first two at-bats, scoring the game’s first run on Alexei Ramirez’s single. Jake Petricka pitched two scoreless innings in relief -- his sixth straight scoreless appearance _ and Maikel Cleto pitched a scoreless ninth as the Sox bullpen stayed on its good roll. Sox relievers have a 0.48 ERA over their last 11 games and a 1.47 ERA over the last 17.
The Cubs swept the Sox in four games last year. They have lost five straight while the Sox have won a season-high four in a row.
“I mean, the Cup, that’s great and all,’’ Beckham said. “But it feels weird going to hold a trophy in the beginning of May. I think as players we aren’t taking a lot of stock in that. We are going out and playing. If we win a trophy for winning a series, then so be it.’’