White Sox ruin Lincoln's home debut, hand Pirates 9th straight loss

PITTSBURGH -- The White Sox are finding a way to focus the attention away from constantly feuding manager Ozzie Guillen and general manager Kenny Williams. Namely, win some games.

Gordon Beckham drove in three runs and the White Sox spoiled former first-round draft pick Brad Lincoln's first start at home, beating Pittsburgh 6-4 Tuesday night and extending the last-place Pirates' losing streak to nine games.

Ramon Castro doubled in a run while reaching base four consecutive times and the White Sox bullpen pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings following Freddy Garcia's uneven start. Chicago won its fifth in six games and sixth in eight games.

Williams is making his first road trip of the season, and Guillen said the two -- who often disagree over personnel matters and other issues, including the recent drafting of Guillen's son -- had a constructive talk during the flight to Pittsburgh.

"We've started playing really well this past week and getting hot and playing better baseball," Garcia said.

The Pirates, losers of 10 of 11 and 15 of 18, have plenty of problems while they're stuck in their longest losing streak since they also dropped nine straight from Aug. 28-Sept. 5. Maybe that's why they're calling up top prospect Pedro Alvarez, a third baseman and the No. 2 pick in the June 2008 draft, for Wednesday night's game.

"It will be a big boost for the ballclub," manager John Russell said.

Andrew McCutchen tried to provide one, matching his career high with three stolen bases and getting three hits and a walk. Ahead 5-4, Chicago was so preoccupied with McCutchen after he singled in the seventh, reliever Matt Thornton made 14 pickoff throws to first in a span of two batters to try to prevent him from stealing second -- which McCutchen eventually did, although he didn't score.

The Pirates tied it at 4 in the fifth after McCutchen singled in a run before stealing second and third on successive pitches and coming home on Ryan Doumit's two-out single.

Lincoln (0-1) followed up a 7-5 Pirates loss to Washington in his major league debut on Wednesday by again allowing five runs in six innings. The Pirates' top pick in 2006 twice created runs by walking the leadoff batter, and he walked three overall, hit two batters and allowed six hits.

"The leadoff walks hurt me and I've got to be able to shut teams down when we either take the lead or tie the game," Lincoln said. "I can't overdo anything or try to make a pitch better. Sometimes I left my curveball up because I was in too big of a rush to the plate. I've got to learn to slow down."

Garcia (7-3) was only slightly more effective -- he gave up eight hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings -- but won his fourth in a run when Beckham singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth.

In the second, Castro's double preceded the light-hitting Beckham's RBI grounder that tied it at 2. Beckham, who came in batting .204, followed Castro's leadoff walk with a run-scoring double in fourth and scored on Juan Pierre's perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt to make it 4-2.

The suicide squeeze is rarely seen these days, which might be why the unconventional Guillen called for it.

"That's Ozzie for you," Pierre said. "You've always got to be heads up with him. When guys get on, he likes to get things going. You don't ever see that, so it was a good time to use it."

Bobby Jenks finished up in the ninth for his 12th save in 13 opportunities despite giving up McCutchen's third hit in as many at-bats. Thornton and J.J. Putz pitched a scoreless inning each, and Sergio Santos struck out Neil Walker in the sixth with runners on second and third.

"The bullpen's gotten fresh. It's gotten stronger," Guillen said. "When our pitching staff is doing well -- and I said that at the beginning of the season -- our bullpen will be very, very effective."

Alex Rios' run-scoring single gave Chicago an insurance run in the top of the ninth after reliever Octavio Dotel walked Juan Pierre, then threw wildly for a two-base error on a pickoff attempt.

Game notes
Former White Sox reliever D.J. Carrasco struck out three during two scoreless relief innings. ... Steelers coach Mike Tomlin attended, wearing a Pirates jersey. ... The White Sox are 5-2 in interleague play, the Pirates are 0-4.