Gordon Beckham lifts White Sox with walk-off homer in 11th

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For the Sun-Times

Robin Ventura went through his share of tough seasons in 16 years as a player.

It’s why he never had any false illusions about how difficult managing can be.

‘‘There are days that are tougher than others and stretches that are tougher than others,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s part of doing it. You never think you’re just going to go into something and it’s not going to be hard. Having played long enough, you see different things pan out, good and bad, and you know any of that is possible.’’

There was more good than bad in the Sox’ 3-2 victory in 11 innings over the visiting Texas Rangers on Sunday. That includes a maligned defense making two critical inning-ending double plays in the 10th and 11th, and role player Gordon Beckham hitting the game-winning, walk-off home run.

‘‘It was a tough game all around, and a good win for the guys,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘We were wheeling and dealing putting guys on base [intentionally]. Then you finally break through.’’

The Sox still lacked the ability to hit with runners in scoring position, going 2-for-9 and stranding 10.

And tough-luck starter Jose Quintana didn’t get the win despite allowing only two solo home runs through seven innings.

But the bullpen delivered four scoreless innings and the defense came through with those double plays after intentional walks were issued the batter before.

Beckham, a defensive replacement at third base in the 10th, started the last double play (with the bases loaded), throwing home to Tyler Flowers, who then threw out batter Hanser Alberto at first.

Then Beckham led off by drilling the first pitch from lefty Alex Claudio over the left-field fence.

‘‘He’s been doing it for a while,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘That double play he turned, it’s right in his wheelhouse. He comes in and gets stuff going. And then he comes up and hits the homer. There was good stuff all the way around.’’

The victory gave the Sox their first series win since a three-game sweep of Houston earlier this month. And it helped soothe the lingering pain of the eight-game losing streak.

‘‘We’re doing the best we can every day and hoping things will turn around,’’ said winning pitcher Jake Petricka (2-2).

It meant as much to Beckham, who has accepted the bench role after re-signing with the Sox.

‘‘When I’m in, I play,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s simple stuff and hopefully, I help us win. I feel I’m older now and I can talk to guys when they come to me, and they do. I try to help them.’’

The walk-off homer was the first of his career and only the second walk-off hit for the Sox this season (the other: a Beckham single May 10 against visiting Cincinnati).

It was one of 12 Sox hits, including five by Melky Cabrera. But the lack of timely hitting continued.

‘‘We can get the guys on, but it’s about being able to get the other jobs done,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘It’s about scoring runs. Any time we seem to get the bases loaded and don’t score, you don’t want everybody to go ‘here we go again.’ [I’m] just trying to keep it positive, keep it upbeat.’’

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