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CWS@CHC: Beckham hits his first homer of the season

CHICAGO -- Leave it to Gordon Beckham, the man who delivered the game-deciding homer in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 5-1 victory over the Cubs, to sum up the White Sox season to date, and more importantly, of late.

"Over the last couple of days, the last five days, we haven't hit that much, but we've found a way to win," Beckham said. "That's different than last year.

"We are finding ways to win games, as opposed to finding ways to lose them," Beckham added.

"Ya gotta believe" already was taken and used most effectively by the 1973 Mets. So this current White Sox team's mantra might be more along the lines of "Stayin' Alive."

Playing without Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and Conor Gillaspie in their everyday lineup, and then having Adam Dunn scratched prior to Tuesday's first pitch with a sore right calf, the White Sox still managed to bring their record even at 17-17 and produced their first three-game winning streak of the season. It's the next man up mentality, greatly assisted by a Cubs offense that has scored just two runs in the past 19 innings.

Moises Sierra took over for Dunn on Tuesday, with Dayan Viciedo moving from right field to left field, and promptly knocked out a career-high four hits. Those three singles and a double snapped a nine-game hitless streak (0-for-20), and those four hits were more than he had in 34 at-bats with the Blue Jays before the White Sox claimed him off waivers.

Hector Noesi, an in-season converted reliever filling one of the rotation spots temporarily vacated by Chris Sale, Erik Johnson and Felipe Paulino, yielded just one run over five innings. He struck out six and gave up four hits over 81 pitches, striking out Luis Valbuena to strand runners at second and third and keep the game tied at 1 in the fifth inning.

This effort earned Noesi another start this Sunday at home against the D-backs.

"He threw great," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "Even the last game he threw, he got through three and then that little bump with four, but he's stretching it out where he's throwing more pitches. He's making that adjustment really on the fly. It's impressive that he's able to step in and give us that kind of effort."

"I really would like to be a starter. I feel comfortable," Noesi said. "I like being a starter and it's my dream, too."

Noesi and Sierra gave the White Sox a shot to win, but it was Beckham who delivered the knockout punch. It wasn't a perfect game for Beckham, who got picked off in the first by Edwin Jackson after singling to center, and then had Emilio Bonifacio's game-tying single tip off his glove with two outs in the fifth.

But he matched a career high with four hits and none was bigger than his first homer of the season off of Neil Ramirez (0-1). Beckham was the first batter Ramirez faced, after left-handed reliever James Russell retired Dunn and Alejandro De Aza, and he connected on a 1-2 hanging slider.

"Great night, completely blessed to have it and definitely comes at a good time. Good win," Beckham said. "I got a better feel today. I mean, it was bound to happen. I was bound to get more than, do better than like 1-for-6 or so. It was one of those things. I've kind of been here before, so just had a good game. Glad I happened to do it."

"When the ball was across the middle of the plate, he didn't miss it," said Jackson, after striking out nine and allowing one run over seven innings against his former team. "He had a good night tonight. He was seeing the ball well and took advantage of mistakes."

Pedro Strop allowed three runs in the ninth before leaving with a sore left groin. That margin was more than enough for the White Sox bullpen trio of Zach Putnam (1-0), Scott Downs and Daniel Webb. Over the last 58 2/3 innings covering 10 games, the bullpen has given up just 10 earned runs.

They have not allowed a run over nine innings during the first two games against the free-swinging Cubs.

"Not very good. And the guys know it," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria of his team's poor approach. "We had a chance to work Noesi a little bit. We did not do that, obviously. He actually threw better -- and I don't know if he was gaining confidence as he was pitching -- but he threw better than his last outing, and had better command of the zone."

Two more Crosstown Cup games are on the docket at U.S. Cellular Field, beginning Wednesday night with John Danks and Travis Wood on the mound. The White Sox could be getting healthier with Gillaspie due back from his injury rehab this week.

Even without a portion of the starting cast, even with the White Sox hitting below .200 over the last seven games, they are finding ways to succeed.

"They're scrapping and finding a way to do it, especially with all the injuries of guys going down, you just kind of have to find your way sometimes and scratch and claw and take what you can get," Ventura said. "They've been doing that, which is good."

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