Beckham rewards Ventura's faith in ninth
Pinch-hitter sets up go-ahead run by advancing Danks to third base
KANSAS CITY -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura decided not to go by the book in the ninth inning on Saturday and his gut instinct to allow pinch-hitter Gordon Beckham to swing away rather than lay down a sacrifice bunt worked out in a 3-2 Chicago victory.
Tied at 2, the White Sox put runners at first and second with none out and Beckham came on to hit for Tyler Flowers. While the conventional play was a sacrifice bunt, Ventura risked a double-play grounder by allowing Beckham to take his cuts. Beckham came through by advancing the lead runner on a fly ball that center fielder Lorenzo Cain tracked down in right-center. Pinch-runner Jordan Danks was decisive in tagging up and moving to third. Danks then scored on a sacrifice fly by Alejandro De Aza.
"Gordon has been swinging it pretty good against righties," Ventura said. "You have three chances to get a hit. In the past, we've done the bunt thing. I don't know if it puts more pressure [on the defense], but you give the guys a chance to swing the bats. With Gordon, you figure he's at least going to get that job done [advancing the lead runner]."
Ventura credited Danks with good baserunning on consecutive tag-up sequences and De Aza for getting the sacrifice fly when he had two strikes against Royals closer Greg Holland..
"We executed when we needed to late in the game," Ventura said. "That's good stuff."
Keppinger enjoying his offensive turnaround
KANSAS CITY -- After a slow start this season, White Sox infielder Jeff Keppinger is starting to find an offensive groove.
Keppinger drew a start at second base on Saturday and reached base on all four plate appearances with three singles and a walk in a 3-2 win over the Royals. Entering Sunday's series finale, Keppinger was hitting .338 over his previous 20 games.
"I said about a month ago it was going to start coming around for me," Keppinger said. "I think over my last 20 or 25 games it has."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he'll continue to find playing opportunities for Keppinger, who has made 34 starts at second base, 19 at third base and one at first base.
"He's not necessarily going to be playing just against lefties," Ventura said. "It's more about matchups."
No. 426 boosts Dunn up MLB's homer list
KANSAS CITY -- White Sox slugger Adam Dunn continues to move up the all-time home run chart.
With his third-inning two-run blast off of Royals ace James Shields in Sunday's 7-6 loss, Dunn tied Billy Williams for 46th place all-time with 426 homers.
Dunn's 20th homer this season leaves him on pace to wind up with 40-plus jacks, which he has accomplished six times. Dunn has hit seven homers in his last 14 games.
White Sox get chance to root on Blackhawks
KANSAS CITY -- Because they played a Saturday matinee, the White Sox had time to get some dinner and watch the Chicago Blackhawks take down Boston in Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.
"There was a lot of guys watching," manager Robin Ventura said. "It was fun. You see the passion of playoff hockey and what they are willing to do when they are out there. It's great to watch and great for the city."
Ventura just hopes the Blackhawks can carry the momentum from Game 5 as they head for Boston.
"You want to see them close it out," Ventura said.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.