Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham matched his April RBI total with two swings of his bat on Tuesday night. On a rainy evening at U.S. Cellular Field, Beckham started May on a definite upswing.
Beckham and his White Sox teammates claimed a share of first place in the AL Central Division with their 7-2 victory. The weather kept fans at home but had no effect on Beckham.
Beckham's second-inning homer was his first of the season. It also gave Chicago a 2-1 advantage and started a four-run inning that provided plenty of runs for White Sox starter Chris Sale. Sale scattered a run and three hits over six innings to pick up his third win of the season.
Sale's night was impressive, but Beckham's three hits in four at-bats was the talk of the clubhouse, as reported by ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine following the contest. A.J. Pierzynski had plenty to say about his teammate's first dinger:
'April is over and he and Albert Pujois went homer-less in April,' Pierzynski joked. 'It was nice to see him get his first one out of the way. That should help him relax and use the whole field.'
Not only did Beckham double his RBI total for the season on Tuesday, but he raised his batting average nearly 40 points. The fact that it is still below the Mendoza line (.190) speaks volumes as to why a three-hit evening was such a welcome sight.
The young infielder had been hit-less in his last 10 at-bats before leading off the bottom half of the third with a drive to left center on a 3-1 pitch from Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez. The ball landed in a sea of empty seats, as just over 15,000 fans put up with the conditions.
Beckham singled in the fourth and again in the fifth.
The latter hit drove in Brent Morel, who had singled with two down and stolen second to set up a scoring opportunity. Morel, who has also struggled mightily at the plate for Chicago, was 1-for-4 on the night but raised his average to .182.
The White Sox are now tied with Cleveland and Detroit for the division lead. If Beckham can build on Tuesday's success, May shapes up to be an improvement over his first month of the 2012 season.