Over the weekend in Detroit, no White Sox could figure out how to take control of a situation. Upon the return to Chicago, an unlikely hero emerged.
Gordon Beckham, featuring a Carlos Quentin-like crouch, did most of the work to get the Sox back in first place. He delivered a two-run homer off Samuel Deduno (the only damage on the Twins' rookie starter), then delivered a key insurance single in the eighth inning to cap off a White Sox winner and snap a four-game losing streak.
Hector Santiago deserved the support. Stepping in as the week's new Gavin Floyd, Santiago asserted himself on the mound. He escaped a two-on, one-out situation in the first inning unscored upon, which set the tone for an effective five innings. Santiago limited the Minnesota output to a Jamey Carroll solo homer (his first since 2009), allowing three hits and three walks while striking out six.
Two of those three walks were to the last two batters he faced, including a sketchy strike zone for Joe Mauer. The bullpen had his back, starting with Nate Jones.
OK, it actually started with Rob Drake, who got Santiago his strikeout back by erroneously calling Joe Mauer out on the back end of a double steal attempt. That put a runner on third with one out, and then Jones stepped up by getting Josh Willingham to pop out to third for the second out.
Robin Ventura, once again exploring the options with expanded rosters, called on Donnie Veal, who struck out Justin Morneau. He flailed away at three sliders, each one farther out of the zone, and that ended the sixth.
Jesse Crain worked into trouble in the seventh by allowing a double and a walk with one out, but -- speaking of much-maligned Sox -- Matt Thornton came in and retired the last two batters with weak outs to the left side.
A run would be charged to Thornton in the eighth when Mauer doubled with one out, and came around to score on a single on Brett Myers' watch. But the bullpen walked the tightrope well enough, waiting for insurance runs to come through before cracking a little.
Paul Konerko experienced his own little bit of redemption, too. He was on track for another rough night after failing to drive in a runner on third with one out in the first inning, and grounding out with the bases loaded in the second. The seventh inning as a different story, as Konerko poked a single through the middle to score Kevin Youkilis to give the Sox a 3-1 lead.
And after the Twins cut it to 3-2 on the Morneau RBI single, the Sox grabbed that run back with some two-out magic. Alexei Ramirez singled, stole second uncontested, and scored on a Beckham RBI single. That gave Addison Reed a little bit of breathing room, but he wouldn't need it. After allowing a leadoff single to Chris Parmalee, he came back to freeze Carroll and induce a 1-6-3 double play off the bat of Alexi Casilla to end the game.
- Several Sox players hacked down their beards and goatees into moustaches to salute Kevin Hickey.
- The Sox went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position, which can be considered "on fire" after the weekend.