SAN FRANCISCO -- You wouldn't expect to hear it from the hero of the night, but Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham wishes Tuesday's 3-2, 10-inning win over the San Francisco Giants had ended differently.
One inning earlier would have been nice.
After nearly saving a regulation win with a brilliant defensive play in the bottom of the ninth inning, Beckham singled home Moises Sierra with two outs in the top of the 10th, rallying the White Sox past the Giants in the opener of a two-game interleague series.
"Chris (Sale) deserved the win," Beckham said of the White Sox starting pitcher, who handed a 2-0 lead to the bullpen after eight shutout innings. "I wish it had ended there (with his defensive play in the ninth)."
Instead, the White Sox had to regroup against right-hander Santiago Casilla (1-2), the Giants' fourth pitcher, in the 10th.
Center fielder Jordan Danks drew a one-out walk off Casilla, then went to third on a single by Sierra, who had entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth.
After Sierra stole second, Danks got gunned down at the plate trying to score on left fielder Alejandro De Aza's groundball to Giants reserve second baseman Matt Duffy.
But Beckham, who just minutes earlier had helped prevent a total Chicago collapse in the ninth, then stroked his two-out, difference-making RBI single up the middle.
"I'd been grinding all night," Beckham said of going 0-for-4 before his big hit. "I felt I had good at-bats, but the ball wasn't falling. It feels nice to help our team win."
Right-hander Zach Putnam (4-2), the third White Sox pitcher, got the win after bailing out the club in the ninth and pitching a scoreless 10th.
The win was Chicago's fifth in a row in interleague play and sixth straight over the Giants dating back to 2008.
After Sale had blanked the Giants on four hits over eight innings, White Sox closer Jake Petricka couldn't hold a 2-0 lead in the ninth, giving up two game-tying runs on four hits.
The Giants loaded the bases off Petricka on successive, inning-opening singles by third baseman Pablo Sandoval, left fielder Michael Morse and pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa.
Then after Beckham appeared to have saved the game with a diving stop that he turned into a double play while Sandoval was scoring from third base, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford delivered a two-out, two-strike single to right field to plate pinch-runner Duffy and tie the score.
With the White Sox staring at what would have been their 31st loss in a game they once led, Putnam replaced Petricka and struck out pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco to send the game into extra innings.
"Last year it was that way: 'Here we go again,'" Beckham said of the unusually high number of blown leads. "This year I don't think we feel that way. I feel we're playing the right way this year."
Right fielder Adam Dunn hit a two-run home run off Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong in the first inning, giving Sale a cushion he protected until leaving after throwing 117 pitches in eight innings. In lowering his road ERA to 1.57 in seven starts this season, the All-Star struck out a season-best-tying 12. He walked two.
"A win is a win. It's not who gets it; it's how you get it," Sale said, showing no signs of disappointment in being denied an 11th win. "I'm excited. Anytime you can win, and win the first game of a series ... especially in a place like this."
Sale has now recorded 10 or more strikeouts six times this season and 16 times in his career.
Right fielder Hunter Pence had the only extra-base hit -- a first-inning triple -- for the Giants, who out-hit the White Sox 9-5 and yet lost for the ninth time in their last 10 interleague games and 22nd time in their last 29 home contests.
"The only thing you can do is keep battling," insisted Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "It's a tough group that bounced back well. I know we're having a tough go here."
Vogelsong, who had won his first two August starts, allowing a total of just two runs, was one strike away from being a hard-luck loser. Other than Dunn's home run, he allowed only two other hits and no other runs in seven innings. He walked two and struck out five.
"Keep showing resiliency and digging deep to show what's inside of you," Vogelsong said of the Giants' mind-set on a night they fell six games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West. "That's what we did in 2012. That's what it's going to take this year, too."
Dunn's home run in the first was made possible by the hustle of White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who barely beat a relay throw to first base on what could have been an inning-ending double-play grounder to third.
Two pitches later, the visitors went up 2-0 when Dunn smacked a Vogelsong fastball into the bleachers in left-center field.