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Beckahm continues to shine despite Sox loss

Philip Humber gets ball back after giving up one three walks first inning. (Tom Cruze/Sun-Times)

Philip Humber gets the ball back after giving up one of three walks in the first inning. (Tom Cruze/Sun-Times)

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Updated: July 7, 2012 8:52AM



CHICAGO — Plays like the one Gordon Beckham made on Omar Vizquel on Tuesday night kept the White Sox second baseman in the lineup. Through all of his struggles at the plate last season and early this year, Beckham played such good defense that his managers couldn’t afford to take him out. It allowed him to weather a storm and find his way to a productive place as a hitter.

“I definitely survived some tough times,” Beckham said before the Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 9-5 in front of 23,107 fans at U.S. Cellular Field. “I mean, I hope that’s it but there’s always times when you’re going to struggle in this game. There are a lot of ups and downs. I’ve done a really good job of managing the ups and downs. I haven’t got too excited with these games I’ve had and I didn’t get too down when I was struggling. If I can stay there, I’m in a good spot.”

Fielding a Vizquel grounder near the bag at second during the second inning, Beckham backhanded the ball and scooped it to shortstop Alexei Ramirez in one motion. Ramirez completed a double play. With his range, ability to turn the double play and excel at relay throws with a strong and accurate arm, Beckham has developed into one of the league’s top-fielding second basemen.

He took a modest .237 average into the game, but his at-bats have coincided with the Sox’ recent 14-2 tear going into it. He had a 10-game hitting streak that tied a career high, hitting .333 with three homers, eight RBI and 10 runs scored. His seven homers are three shy of his 2011 total.

The battle has always involved beating himself up during tough times. This year Beckham has made a point of staying on an even keel.

“Well, I just care a lot,” said Beckham, who was 0-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt his first four time up. “When you try and care, sometimes that doesn’t add up. It’s almost like the less you care the better you do. I don’t care any less, I’m just taking it better. I’m understanding the ups and downs better of everyday life.”

The Sox, who have had more ups than downs during their hot streak, had another unsettling downer from starter Philip Humber on Tuesday. Humber had little command of the strike zone and was roughed up for five runs in five innings, allowing two-run homers to Colby Rasmus and David Cooper in the fifth to put the Sox in a 5-1 hole. Humber was coming off a strong start against the Tampa Bay Rays, his first victory since his perfect game on April 21, but he walked three in the first inning.

“He has showed glimpses of [being good],” manager Robin Ventura said before the game. “It’s just being able to consistently do it. A lot goes in when he has a game like he had in Seattle, you come back and there are distractions and different things. He has the ability. He has shown it.”

After Jake Peavy and Chris Sale, the Sox rotation is taking shape as the team’s No. 1 question mark. Opening Day starter John Danks (5.70 ERA) is still on the disabled list, Gavin Floyd has a 5.32 ERA and Humber is at 5.68.

“You can always improve,” Beckham said in general terms about the Sox’ level of play at the one-third mark of the season. “We’re doing a lot of good things on a lot of fronts. But every day you have to work.”



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