BOSTON -- Just hit the ball.
That was Conor Gillaspie's plan at the plate in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 8-3 victory for the White Sox over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Gillaspie's straightforward response brought a bit of laughter from the media assembled postgame. But there was no humor intended from Gillaspie, who has followed that "just hit the ball" philosophy this season to a .317 average over 243 at-bats.
With the game tied, Jose Abreu on first and two outs, Gillaspie just hit the ball from Brandon Workman (1-3) inside Pesky's Pole for his second homer and the game-deciding shot in the club's third straight victory and its eighth win in the last 11 games.
"When you have guys around that can hit home runs, truthfully, I would rather just get on base and take my chances with guys that can do it consistently," said Gillaspie, who also has 32 RBIs. "Just quality at-bats, quality at-bats, quality at-bats, that's pretty much all I'm trying to do every time up there. Obviously, it works sometimes and sometimes you go through periods where it doesn't quite work out."
"He can put it in play and usually he puts it in play hard," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Gillaspie. "Even going into this year, he felt out of Spring Training that he understood what it takes to hit here and he has been showing it. You get it in the zone and he puts a good swing on it."
This 3-2 connection by Gillaspie on a Workman cutter was especially important because the Red Sox (39-51) had rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth off of John Danks (8-6) to erase a 3-0 lead for the White Sox (44-47). Abreu, who had two doubles among his three hits, singled to open the sixth and after Adam Dunn struck out looking and Alexei Ramirez flied to center, it was Gillaspie's job to not let Workman off the hook.
Two days ago, Gillaspie took a Dominic Leone fastball off the right knee in a moment that sounded and looked worse than it apparently was. He left that Sunday win over Seattle and didn't play Monday, but came back Tuesday to fall a triple short of hitting for the cycle.
Here's the strangest twist from this painful moment: that hit-by-pitch might have actually helped set up Gillaspie for Tuesday's heroics after getting 10 hours worth of treatment during his day off.
"Sometimes you can benefit by getting hurt, getting a day off and recharging," Ventura said. "He came out today and hit early and he was fine. You can see he was swinging the bat fine. Running, I'm sure it's still sore."
"If I could take back one pitch, it'd be that one," said Workman of Gillaspie's home run. "It's definitely a situation where you want to go out and put up a big zero right there, and unfortunately I wasn't able to do that."
Danks earned the victory, but it wasn't an easy road traveled. He allowed a leadoff double to Brock Holt and issued one-out walks to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to load the bases in the first before Jonny Gomes hit into an inning-ending double play.
Five hits in the fifth produced the 3-3 deadlock, but with runners on first and second and one out in the inning, Danks struck out David Ross and Stephen Drew to thwart the rally. Danks lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, while walking four and striking out four.
"I felt really good," said Danks, who threw 102 pitches in tying Chris Sale for the team lead in victories. "Maybe I was trying to do too much and wasn't very sharp. Obviously, the walks are no good, but I was glad to get us where I did and [Ronald] Belisario picked me and the bullpen up and those guys scored runs. It was a fun game."
Belisario, the one-time, often-maligned closer, falls as Tuesday's unsung hero by throwing 2 1/3 innings of one-hit relief when the game was still in question. The White Sox added three in the ninth, with a Paul Konerko pinch-hit, ground-rule double capping the rally.
White Sox pitchers have shut out the Red Sox in 17 of 18 innings played to open this four-game series, and they have held opponents to three runs or fewer in six straight contests. Gillaspie made sure that mound work wasn't wasted, following a basic approach that has made him a consistent .300 hitter throughout this season despite a 4-for-29 slump in 10 games coming into Tuesday.
"My last couple of weeks I've been scuffling a little bit and a couple of days I just panicked a little bit," Gillaspie said. "Just battling and trying to get back to that [just hit the ball approach]."