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Beckham homers in eighth to power White Sox past Cubs 5-1 for two-game sweep

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CHICAGO - Gordon Beckham was struggling and the Chicago White Sox are banged up. That didn't stop them from completing a sweep of the rival Chicago Cubs.

Beckham's tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning helped the White Sox beat the rival Cubs 5-1 on Tuesday night. Beckham was 1 for 6 in the White Sox's 3-1, 12-inning win Monday over the Cubs, but he matched a career high with four hits Tuesday.

The fourth one, on a 1-2 pitch with two outs from Neil Ramirez (0-1), gave Beckham his first homer of the season and the White Sox the lead, one they held to sweep the two-game series at Wrigley Field before the teams start a two-game set Wednesday across town at U.S. Cellular Field.

Entering Tuesday, Beckham was 3 for his last 17 and hitting just .167 on the season. But he took extended batting practice earlier in the day, and that paid off later.

"It was great. I mean great night, completely blessed to have it and definitely comes at a good time," Beckham said. "Good win."

The sweep was made more impressive by what the White Sox have been battling. Their best pitcher, starting third baseman, centre fielder and right fielder are all injured, and Adam Dunn was a late scratch and replaced in the lineup by Moises Sierra.

Sierra had four hits, and the White Sox had their third straight win.

"They're scrapping and finding a way to do it. Especially with all the injuries of guys going down you just kind of have to find your way sometimes and scratch and claw and take what you can get," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "They've been doing that, which is good."

They've also been pitching well against the Cubs, who lost their third straight.

Zach Putnam (1-0) had an 18.90 ERA in five games for the Cubs last season but threw two scoreless innings for the White Sox, who have won consecutive games against the North Siders for the first time since taking three in a row in 2012.

The White Sox's starter had another good night but wasn't the beneficiary of Beckham's home run and the three ninth-inning insurance runs — capped by pinch-hitter Jordan Danks' two-run double off Pedro Strop — that also gave the White Sox their third straight win after a four-game skid.

Hector Noesi gave the White Sox their second straight strong start against their crosstown rivals. One day after Jose Quintana took a no-hitter into the sixth, Noesi went five innings and allowed one run while striking out six.

"Not very good (the past two nights)," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.

It was also a departure from Noesi's first start of the season, when he lasted just 3 2-3 innings and allowed four runs in an April 30 loss to Detroit.

"I really would like to be a starter," Noesi said. "I feel comfortable."

Like Noesi, Cubs starter Edwin Jackson saw one of his better outings end up in a no-decision. Jackson entered with a 5.24 ERA but went seven innings and gave up one run while striking out a season-high nine, following up Jeff Samardzija's nine-inning, one-run outing Monday.

"That game yesterday ... Samardzija threw a hell of a game," Jackson said. "I can't lie and say that didn't give me some extra motivation today to come out and follow up that performance with a strong outing."

The White Sox did, too, and finished a two-game sweep of the Cubs.

"It's good. I mean we need to keep, no matter who it is, keep grinding out and getting some wins. Last three games has been good," Beckham said. "We've found a way to win in some tight games and obviously pulled a bit today but it's good team-building stuff."

NOTES: Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said there have been no trade talks yet. "Teams have to have a sense that they can't fill a hole internally," he said. "People don't usually come to that conclusion in May." ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura said LHP Chris Sale (left arm) was feeling "good" one day after a 40-pitch bullpen session and that he'll have another session "in the near future." ... Cubs RHP Jose Veras, on the disabled list since April 26 with a strained left oblique, threw a scoreless inning Tuesday during a rehab stint for Double-A Tennessee. ... White Sox 3B Conor Gillaspie (left hand) is eligible to come off the DL Wednesday, and Ventura said "you're hoping that he's back pretty soon." ... The Cubs will play a day-night doubleheader at Cincinnati on July 8 to make up the game from April 28, which was postponed due to rain.

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