CLEVELAND -- Mark down Tuesday's 5-4 White Sox victory over the Indians in Game 2 of a split doubleheader at Progressive Field as a contest second baseman Gordon Beckham truly needed.
Actually, it was a performance Beckham needed about two months ago, as he diligently tried to fight his way out of this season-long offensive funk. But after setting a career high with three doubles, leading to one RBI and one run scored as the White Sox (75-79) earned a split, Beckham wasn't about to argue semantics.
"It's one of those days I've been searching for, and unfortunately, it comes with nine or whatever games left," Beckham said. "It was a good day for me personally, and I'm glad we came back and won that game. We showed some fight."
Beckham looked like the hitter envisioned by the White Sox when he was selected in the first round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He looked like the Rookie of the Year performer from 2009 and the Michael Young type of hitter as once projected, using the whole field by launching doubles to left, left-center and right-center.
According to manager Ozzie Guillen, this showing couldn't have come at a better time for the 25-year-old veteran, who entered the game hitting .229 and with just 28 extra-base hits. Guillen had witnessed some doubt creeping into Beckham's psyche over the past few games.
"He was kind of worrying and kind of down ," Guillen said. "It's nice to see him come around with those hits. Hopefully, at least for his spirits, he'll come up and finish up strong. But he was very down, and we are all glad he got those hits.
"Right when we need it, he got a few doubles. You see when the bottom of the lineup helps, it's easy to score more runs. We are not relying on the top of the lineup or [Paul Konerko]. It's nice to see this kid swing the bat the way he did today."
Four hard hits could be chalked up for Beckham on this night, although the fourth one came courtesy of Cleveland reliever Josh Judy. A 3-1 pitch in the ninth caught Beckham square in the lower back, two batters ahead of Judy hitting Alexei Ramirez in the left shoulder.
Konerko was hit in the left hip by a pitch from Zach Putnam (0-1) during the White Sox two-run rally in the seventh, completing erasing a four-run deficit. And the even-keel White Sox captain looked about as agitated as one would see him during the course of a game.
There was no retaliation for the plunkings, but there was a little agitation on the White Sox part. It was Judy who hit Brent Lillibridge in the right hand two weeks ago, ending his season with a fracture, and it was Cleveland's Frank Herrmann who hit Beckham on Aug. 30 of last season, leading to a bruised right hand that cost Beckham most of the final month.
"Well I know how Brent feels because I almost had the same thing happen last year," Beckham said. "It's frustrating to get hit. Obviously, [Judy] has some control issues. I don't think he was trying to hit Brent. I don't think he was trying to hit us. It happened that way unfortunately."
Guillen agreed that the hit batsmen, which included Fausto Carmona nailing Ramirez in the fifth inning of the 4-3 loss to the Indians (76-77) in Game 1, were not intentional.
"Obviously, I was upset. But I don't think they were throwing at them," Guillen said. "It's a bunch of kids coming from the Minor Leagues, and you can't do nothing about it. Just run to first base and go get the trainer.
"I wish they would not hit anyone, but that's part of the game. That's part of the process when you come to the big leagues and can't find the plate."
Cleveland manager Manny Acta didn't address the late wildness, but did talk about his kid hurlers being unable to hold the lead.
"They have to pitch. That's the problem here in September," Acta said. "In doubleheaders and stuff, you can't be throwing those guys in back-to-back games. Not everybody was available. They have to get out there and pitch."
Alejandro De Aza joined Beckham with a banner offensive day, knocking out two hits and driving in two runs in each of the two games.
In 46 games since arriving from Triple-A Charlotte, De Aza has a .326 average with 21 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. De Aza also recorded a slick running catch of a Jack Hannahan line drive to left-center while playing center field to save a run in the nightcap.
Dylan Axelrod made his second Major League start and finished with a no-decision, giving up four runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings but exiting with the bases loaded. Josh Kinney entered and retired Grady Sizemore on a popup to limit the damage, and Matt Thornton (2-5) earned the victory with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, with support from Jesse Crain and Chris Sale (seventh save).
The impetus for this victory came from Beckham, who felt like a changed man at the plate in a very good way.
"You know, tonight I had a different feel mentally that I haven't had in a while, and it was really good to have," Beckham said. "I was hungry and I wanted it more than I ever have in the last month. It was one of those nights. It was a good night."