After 'terrible' BP, Beckham puts on a show for his parents

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After 'terrible' BP, Beckham puts on a show for his parents

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com correspondent

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.

Preview: Jose Quintana, White Sox look to win sixth straight game on CSN

Preview: Jose Quintana, White Sox look to win sixth straight game on CSN

The White Sox take on the Kansas City Royals on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (13-11, 3.21 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (8-19, 4.02 ERA)

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Todd Frazier, Miguel Gonzalez propel White Sox past Rays

Todd Frazier, Miguel Gonzalez propel White Sox past Rays

Todd Frazier reached the 40-home run plateau on Wednesday night and now his eyes are trained on 100 RBIs.

Frazier’s seventh-inning solo home run not only extended his hitting streak to 12 games, it provided the game’s only offense in a 1-0 White Sox victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in front of 12,976 at U.S. Cellular Field. Frazier became only the seventh player in franchise history to hit 40 homers in a season with his 394-foot drive off Rays pitcher Eddie Gamboa. The blast offered Miguel Gonzalez and David Robertson just enough support as they combined on a three-hit shutout. Robertson recorded his 37th save in 44 tries.

“It’s a big deal any time a guy rounds off that number,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s always a big deal for you. He’s been wanting to get there for a while. I don’t know if you guys know, but he’s been talking about it for a while. I know I’ve heard it a lot. He’s been aiming for that. He wants to get 40 and 100 and especially if it counts like it did tonight and gets a guy a win.”

Frazier entered the game hitting .305/.374/.568 with six homers and 14 RBIs in September, easily his best month of the season. His homer came on a cold, windy night in which offense was at a premium.

The game was delayed for 21 minutes by rain, which continued through the first inning. The rains came again in the bottom of the third inning and delayed the contest for another 76 minutes.

Tampa’s third pitcher of the night, Gamboa’s 76-mph knuckleball caught too much of the plate and Frazier planted it about eight rows beyond the left-field bullpen with two outs in the seventh.

“Not many people have hit 40 home runs in a year so it’s a good feat to have,” Frazier said.

“It’s a great feat to have. I had a bunch of people text me ‘It’s coming. Today is the day.’ It wasn’t that much pressure. It was just a matter of knowing that it’s there and I’m glad to get it over with and now it’s on to another goal of mine.”

Frazier has never driven in 100 runs in a season. His 98 RBIs this season are nine more than his previous career high of 89 that he set in 2015.

Gonzalez hadn’t pitched into the ninth inning since he threw a four-hit shutout on Sept. 3, 2014. To get there he had to stay loose and sharp throughout the second delay of the night. Gonzalez threw twice during the delay, a total of 25 pitches in the indoor cage, and stretched to stay loose.

But being his final start, Gonzalez wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. He returned after the delay and was remarkable. He had stretches where he retired eight in a row in the middle and nine straight into the ninth before he yielded a one-out single to Logan Forsythe.

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He allowed three hits, walked none and struck out five. Gonzalez threw strikes on 71 of 102 pitches.

Robertson took over and needed only one pitch to record the save as Kevin Kiermaier grounded into a game-ending double play.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been out there for the ninth inning,” Gonzalez said. “It took me two years to get there, but they were swinging early. I made some good pitches early on. Got some quick outs, that’s what you got me to the ninth inning.

“Staying loose was really the most important thing for it.

“I was mentally prepared. Obviously you can’t get away with it. It was my last start. I was going out no matter what and didn’t give in and the results were there.”