Pierre carries load as White Sox win in 14

CHICAGO -- After Juan Pierre finished celebrating his game-ending hit on Tuesday, he moved on to celebrate an even rarer feat: an actual home run.

Way back in the fourth inning, Pierre hit his second home run of the season and the 16th of his career. Some 10 innings later, he made sure he wasn’t the only one in a good mood, singling to left field to score Gordon Beckham from third base and give the White Sox an 8-7 victory in 14 innings.

The victory kept the White Sox 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers in the American League Central standings and put them just a half game behind the second-place Indians with 41 games to play.

“We just battled and they battled,” Pierre said. “You expect to do that when you’re in the hunt like that. They didn’t give in and we didn’t give in. It was just a big victory. To be out there so long, it would be really tough to come in after a loss. Definitely it was a big win.”

With Beckham at third base and Brent Morel at first base with one out in the 14th inning, Pierre checked to see if the White Sox were about to get tricky.

“I was looking for the signs making sure the squeeze wasn’t on,” Pierre said. “I was just prepared to squeeze and once I got one strike on me and I didn’t get the squeeze sign I just tried to get something in the outfield with the infield in. He threw the ball out over the plate and I didn’t try to do too much. The at-bat previous to that I tried to do a little too much and I popped out to the catcher so I just wanted to relax and put a good swing on it.”

When his hit dropped and Beckham scored, the celebration began. Or in Pierre’s case, two celebrations began.

“Now I can really enjoy (the home run) because you can’t enjoy it after a loss,” Pierre said. “Definitely I get to enjoy the home run. There aren’t too many of them that come off my bat.”

Pierre is now 584 home runs behind Jim Thome, but there is a more realistic goal he is aiming for.

“Twenty is in sight now,” Pierre said.