Say what you will about Gordon Beckham -- and we've said what we would about Gordon Beckham -- but when the game put him on the spot in the late innings, he delivered. Twice.
His brilliant diving stab and flip that started a 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded in the ninth delayed the game from going into extra innings. When Brandon Crawford bounced a single through the right side to drive in the tying run, Beckham answered with a two-out RBI single through the left side to win it.
And to think -- he wouldn't have had the chance if he weren't batting second. Or if Jake Petricka hadn't blown the save in the ninth.
Petricka's blown save was death by contact (as opposed to walks, the other White Sox bullpen plague). Taking the mound after eight shutout innings by Chris Sale, Petricka gave up a shift-beating single to Pablo Sandoval, a single up the middle to Michael Morse, and a flared single to Travis Ishikawa to load the bases.
Up came Joe Panik, who hit a sharp grounder to the right side. Beckham hit the ground to snare the ball and flipped it to Alexei Ramirez, who completed the double play to keep the tying run on third. Of course, that tying run came home with Crawford's grounder through the right side. Zach Putnam relieved Petricka to retire the only batter he faced, but that pushed the game into extras.
Giants relievers Santiago Casilla started the 10th with a strikeout, but his walk to the scuffling Jordan Danks foreshadowed doom. Danks went to third on Moises Sierra's single, but couldn't score on contact when Alejandro De Aza hit a grounder to second. That's when Beckham came through for a second time, pulling a single through the left side to score Sierra and give the Sox a 3-2 lead.
Putnam retired the first two batters without incident, but a bullet single by Buster Posey kept the game alive. Sandoval then crushed a liner to left, but De Aza made the play he couldn't make against the Twins on Aug. 2, running it down on the warning track to end the game.
The dramatic flourishes at the end overshadowed a dominant start by Sale, who struck out 12 Giants while allowing just four hits and two walks. The Giants helped Sale on his way when Hunter Pence killed his own one-out triple in the first inning with a boneheaded baserunning play. Posey hit a grounder to Ramirez, who was playing back. Yet Pence's first step was back to third, and then he broke for home. Ramirez didn't anticipate having a shot, but he saw the opportunity and fired home to Tyler Flowers, who caught the ball up the third-base line and reached across for a run-saving tag.
After that, Sale did the heavy lifting. He retired 11 in a row at one point and 15 of 17 at another, limiting the Giants to just two at-bats with runners in scoring position. The second came in the seventh, when Sale walked Crawford with two outs to bring up pinch-hitting Joaquin Arias. Arias popped out.
Behind Sale's pitching, it looked like the Sox had a 2-0 lead on lockdown. The White Sox offense must have thought the same. Adam Dunn gave the Sox an early boost with a two-run homer to left center, but after stranding Conor Gillaspie's leadoff triple in the second, they went hitless until the singles by Sierra and Beckham in the 10th.
*Sale's word of the day: "sussuration."
*Dunn played right field ... cautiously.