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.

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland turned in one of his best starts of the season on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the White Sox had nothing to show for it after a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.

In six innings, Holland allowed four hits, one earned run, and two walks while recording six strikeouts. He was charged with his only run in the seventh, when he allowed a single to Yonder Alonso, who came around to score after Holland had been pulled from the game.

Despite his confidence in the bullpen, which has been one of the White Sox biggest strengths this season, Holland would like to see himself go deeper into the games.

“I should be getting into the 7th and not having 110 pitches,” Holland said. “The bullpen's done a great job of picking us up in the seventh, eighth and ninth. The starters, and really pointing more to myself, we need to...I need to go out there and go longer."

Entering Sunday, three of Holland’s last four starts had been the worst outings of the season – allowing 22 earned runs over those four games. Despite the team’s 5-3 loss, Holland felt his outing was a step in the right direction.

“I felt good about everything out there,” Holland said. “(Omar Narvaez) and I were right on the same page. There were just a couple of things that got away from us. Just one of those things. Defense made the plays for us when they needed to, unfortunately we just didn't come out on top."

Manager Rick Renteria also had high praise for the 30-year-old southpaw, who bounced back from one of his shortest outings of the season.

“I thought Holland, hopefully what's not lost is Holland's outing today was really, really good,” Renteria said. “He kept us in the ballgame. They've got some kids that can swing the bat. They were putting things together. All we were trying to do at the end was minimize any damage they could produce. We weren't able to.”

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tommy Kahnle has been one of the White Sox brightest bright spots, but fell victim to some tough luck that could ding on his under-the-radar All-Star bid.

Kahnle allowed the tying and go-ahead runs in the White Sox 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics Sunday in front of 28,089 at Guaranteed Rate Field, marking only the sixth time in 31 games the 27-year-old right-hander has allowed a run in 2017.

In the eighth inning, Kahnle allowed a broken bat single to Franklin Barreto, then Ryon Healy reached on a Todd Frazier error. Khris Davis tied the game with a single to left, knocking Kahnle out of the game, and Oakland took the lead when Yonder Alonso blooped a single off David Robertson that plopped into left field out of the reach of Melky Cabrera. Consider the hit probabilities, according to Statcast, of those three hits and the error:

Barreto: 78 percent
Healy: 5 percent
Davis: 62 percent
Alonso: 2 percent

That Kahnle coughed up the lead was surprising given his stealthy success leading a strong back end of the White Sox bullpen this year. The White Sox, prior to Sunday's defeat, were 28-0 when leading after seven innings. 

"Our bullpen's doing a great (job), it really is," manager Rick Renteria said. "I think you can't take away from what they've been doing for us all year long. We've been going to them a lot."

On that improbable Alonso bloop single, Cabrera was shifted more toward center field. 

"He was actually playing a little more to the pull side than he was to the line," Renteria said. "I don't think he was going to be able to get to it, regardless of the effort he might have given us. These guys are all a little fatigued, they're a little tired right now. They're giving you what they've got right now."

Entering Sunday’s game, Kahnle’s 1.2 WAR was sixth-best American League relievers, behind Boston’s Craig Kimbrel (2.2), Houston’s Chris Devenski (1.6), Cleveland’s Andrew Miller (1.6), Los Angeles’ Blake Parker (1.4) and Toronto’s Roberto Osuna (1.3). His 44.8 strikeout percentage is among the five best in baseball along with Kimbrel, New York’s Dellin Betances, Los Angeles’ Kenley Jansen and Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel.

Kahnle has been undoubtedly spectacular this year even with Sunday’s hiccup, though with Garcia seeming likely to be on the American League All-Star roster, Terry Francona wouldn’t have to take him to fill the game’s requirement. That this year’s All-Star Game doesn’t count — it’s the first since 2002 that won’t dictate home-field advantage in the World Series — could alter Francona’s roster construction to reward more starters and closers, and the Cleveland Indians manager would certainly be justified if he wanted to take his own setup guy in Miller.

The White Sox handed Kahnle the lead on Adam Engel’s first career home run (a solo shot in the third) and Jose Abreu’s dash home on a passed ball in the fourth. Starter Derek Holland was solid, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts over six innings. Melky Cabrera added a solo home run in the ninth inning, his eighth of the season.

Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce homered off Robertson and Chris Beck, respectively, in the ninth inning to give the A’s a comfortable ending to their three-game sweep of the White Sox. Beck was hit by a comebacker after allowing that home run and left the game with a bruised left hamstring, and is considered day-to-day.