After his 4-for-5 night against the Cubs on Tuesday, Gordon Beckham boosted his line to .356/.408/.586 over 25 crosstown affairs. So Robin Ventura moved him up to the leadoff spot, and all Beckham did was respond with his second game-changing homer in as many nights.
This one was a three-run homer off Travis Wood, giving the Sox a 4-1 lead. And when John Danks gave a couple of those runs back (as he is wont to do), Beckham mentor Paul Konerko reclaimed the margin with a bases-clearing double.
Even with those big hits, Moises Sierra's infield single preceding the Beckham blast may have been the biggest hit of the night.
With one out in a 1-1 game in the fourth, Wood jammed Sierra and broke his bat. As the grounder dribbed to the left side, the barrel of the bat snapped off, hurtled end over end toward Wood and struck him in the left arm. Adding insult to injury, Valbuena threw the ball away to allow Sierra to reach second.
Wood stayed in the game, but he wasn't the same. He retired just one of the last eight batters he faced, and he only got the second out of the fourth because Wellington Castillo picked Marcus Semien off first (Castillo's second such kill in as many days). Despite the help from his catcher, Wood issued the first career walk to Adrian Nieto before hanging a slider to Beckham, who crushed it 405 feet over the wall just left of center to give the Sox a 4-1 lead.
Danks started the top of the fifth by giving up a solo shot, then gave up another run due to defensive struggles. Jose Abreu allowed Ryan Kalish to reach on a fielder's choice when he thought (wrongly) that he could get the out at second, and then Marcus Semien couldn't knock down Emilio Bonifacio's bouncer down the third base line. A run scored when it trickled into the left field foul territory, narrowing the gap to 4-3.
Danks ended up getting an easy win as Wood's struggles carried over into the fifth. Jose Abreu led off with a single and moved to third when Darwin Barney couldn't glove Dayan Viciedo's grounder to the right side loaded the bases. Alexei Ramirez drew a tough walk, and when Wood tried to get a cutter in on Konerko, Konerko cleared the bases with a double to the left field corner.
Konerko scored two batters later on a Marcus Semien single to make it 8-3, and that's where the score remained. Jake Petricka threw two perfect innings of relief, and Maikel Cleto pitched around a leadoff walk with the help of an incredible double play by Ramirez. Cleto broke Castillo's bat on a flare into shallow left field, which Ramirez ran down with an over-the-shoulder catch. He then showed exceptional awareness by spinning and firing to first, with Abreu stretching to collect the hop before Starlin Castro could get back to first. Cleto then blew away Olt to secure the season series against the Cubs.
Every White Sox hitter reached base, and Nieto was the only one who didn't get a hit. Abreu led the way with three hits, including a pair of doubles. His two-bagger in the first inning turned into the game's first run, as Ramirez cashed him in with a single to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs tied it in the top of the second when Luis Valbena (Spanish for "Poor Man's Ryan Raburn") drilled a two-out double to the left-center gap to score Castro. Danks allowed runs in both innings after the Sox scored for him -- and he did the same in his previous start. When the Sox didn't score for him, he was nails. Add it all up, and he delivered a quality start, striking out eight batters over six innings while allowing just four hits and a walk.
The White Sox have now won four in a row after losing four in a row, which is a nice sign.