Soon, the mob engulfed him, delivering jabs to the ribs and a couple other shots -- none was as big as the blow he delivered.
Beckham singled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth, and Scott Podsednik homered while tying a career high with four hits to lift the Chicago White Sox to an 8-7 victory over the Cubs on Saturday.
"That's probably the best feeling I've ever had playing baseball," Beckham said.
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Josh Fields ran for him and moved to second on Pierzynski's grounder, and Jose Ascanio walked pinch hitter Jayson Nix, who was batting for Chris Getz. Beckham ended it with a long drive to right and got mobbed near second base by his teammates.
"I got a little nervous when I saw A.J. and Thome in full sprint," Beckham said. "Thome in full sprint doesn't happen much and he was moving pretty fast. It was pretty exciting, obviously, to get that kind of hit and have the team come get you like that, that's pretty cool."
Who jabbed him? Beckham wasn't sure, although Pierzynski appeared to land some shots.
"I felt like I was leaving some hits out there on the table [(in the past] by not using my ability to run," said Podsednik, batting .319. "I'm just trying to create a little movement in the box and that allows me to get down the line a little quicker. I'm just trying to make things happen."
He did just that, and the result was the fifth loss in six games for the Cubs, who have been engulfed by controversy.
Milton Bradley started Saturday and went 1 for 5 a day after he was sent home by manager Lou Piniella for throwing a temper tantrum in the dugout during Friday's 5-4 victory. That outburst came a day after news that Geovany Soto tested positive for marijuana at the World Baseball Classic.
This time the drama was produced on the field, by two teams refusing to bow quietly.
"When we score that many runs it's a game I should win," Cubs starter Ryan Dempster said. "It was a battle, good game because it was back and forth."
It was another loss, though, for a team that has seen nine of the past 10 games be decided by two runs or less.
"We're going to get on a streak it's just a question of when and how soon," Piniella said.
White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and Dempster were shaky, but Podsednik was at his best. He drove in three runs while scoring two and just missed a possible triple before flying out in the eighth, when his shot down the right-field line landed about a foot foul.
"When he was here in '05 and '06 he was really pulling the ball more," Konerko said. "If there's nobody on, he can hurt you now with doubles and homers. It's great to see."
This isn't, though -- three errors that resulted in three unearned runs.
With the game tied at 6, shortstop Alexei Ramirez threw wide to first after fielding Ryan Freel's leadoff grounder in the eighth for his second error. Aaron Poreda relieved D.J. Carrasco, and Kosuke Fukudome singled after fouling off two bunt attempts, putting runners on first and third.
With the infield in, Freel scored on Andres Blanco's grounder to short, breaking to the plate after Ramirez threw to first and sliding in to beat a high throw from Konerko to make it 7-6, but Carlos Marmol couldn't hold it.
Bobby Jenks (2-2) retired the Cubs in the ninth before the White Sox pulled it out in the bottom half.
- This was Podsednik's 10th career four-hit game, the previous one coming May 25 at the Los Angeles Angels.
- Marmol now has four blown saves after blowing two in 2008.