Gavin Floyd had his best outing in more than a month, and Gordon Beckham hit his ninth home run and tied a career high with four RBI as the White Sox avoided getting swept by the Cubs with a 7-0 victory Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Floyd (5-7, 5.20) pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out four before leaving to a standing ovation in the top of the seventh. He went into the game with a 1-4 record and 10.38 ERA over his previous six starts. In this one, he went to his curve more than usual -- about 30 times.
"He was able to locate better,'' catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "He seemed like he was working a little bit quicker and he just located the ball much better tonight than he had the last few starts. Hopefully it's a step in the right direction. He threw the ball great. Hopefully, in five days from now he'll continue to get better.''
The win stopped a three-game losing streak for the Sox (36-33), who had lost six of their last seven. The Sox, who trail the Cleveland Indians by a half game in the AL Central, have a day off Thursday before opening a weekend series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.
"If they had asked us at the beginning of the season if we'd take being a half-game up or a half-game out at almost the end of June, I think we would've taken it,'' Beckham said. "We're playing the right way, we've had a tough week and a half, but tonight was a good start in the right direction.''
In the sixth, Floyd allowed a leadoff triple to Starlin Castro but he left Castro on third by striking out Bryan LaHair and Alfonso Soriano and getting Steve Clevenger to ground out.
Floyd said he had confidence he would get through the slump.
"It was frustrating but at the same time I felt like God gave me a peace about it,'' Floyd said. "I knew that things were gonna work out. Just keep on working hard, keep being diligent about that. Try to keep things the same and keep on pressing. I felt when I always feel like if things are going bad that they're always going to go well because I think everybody believes in our pitching staff and me. Just believe in myself that things would turn around.''
It was Floyd's third scoreless outing of the season. He has been prone to big innings, but not on this night.
"He's had some good starts before and as the game as gone on, it's kind of changed,'' Pierzynski said. "But as the game went it actually got better and better. It was good to see. He threw a lot of good pitches tonight. It's encouraging and it's definitely a step in the right direction.''
Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko hit consecutive RBI singles in the third against Cubs starter Randy Wells to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. Beckham blooped an RBI single to right in the fourth, and he hit his home run inside the right-field pole against left-hander Scott Maine in the sixth.
Beckham has 31 RBI this season.
"We needed that,'' Beckham said. "We've been doing a good job of not getting swept.''
Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Will Ohman combined to pitch 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The shutout was the sixth this season by the Sox.
The Sox out-hit the Cubs 10-4. The Cubs won the first two games of the series 12-3 and 2-1. The Sox swept their three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in May.