Some semi-common things for most teams haven't happened for the Orioles this year. When they face a Soft-Tossing Lefty, they don't score runs. Their starting pitchers haven't thrown the last pitch of a ballgame. Those things both happened tonight, as Scott Feldman threw the first Orioles complete game shutout of 2013, and the offense managed to put up four runs against certified Soft-Tossing Lefty John Danks, adding up to an easy-looking 4-0 win and keeping the team on the edge of the AL Wild Card hunt for another night.
Let's start with Scott Feldman's night. Only nine times this year has an Orioles starter gone eight innings, and none of them recorded so much as an out in the ninth. Feldman didn't absolutely dominate the White Sox tonight, but he handled them capably and efficiently, didn't put himself in the hole in a lot of counts, and pitched to his defense. His final line of 9 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 R, in just 106 pitches, is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. The hits he gave up were mostly weak, all singles, and never put together into a big inning. There was a blip in the fourth inning, where the White Sox put together singles by Jeff Keppinger and Paul Konerko, resulting in a bang-bang play at the plate where Keppinger might've been safe, but was called out on a decent throw from Adam Jones, which didn't count because complete game shutout!
Meanwhile, The Curse Of The Soft-Tossing Lefty looked to be alive and well for quite a while. The first eight Oriole hitters to face John Danks all made outs on flyballs. Danks is a flyball pitcher, but eight consecutive flyball outs is just ridiculous. Danny Valencia apparently agreed, and as the ninth Oriole batter, he parked one deep in the left field seats to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
The Orioles tacked on a second run in the fifth inning, with a weak sequence that didn't exactly make it look like they had solved Danks. J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis put together two singles with no outs, but Michael Morse hit into a weak double play, leaving Hardy at third with two outs. Valencia managed to plate Hardy, though, on an infield single to third (which, as usual, had me thinking "Manny makes that play").
But with Feldman still cruising, the Orioles finally got to Danks in the sixth. Chris Davis, who had already singled (and might finally be pulling out of his painful cold spell), hit an absolute laser over the right field scoreboard, just inside the foul pole. Gary Thorne barely even had time to get into a home run call. For some reason, the White Sox didn't see this as the time to life Danks, and Matt Wieters made them pay by going back-to-back, giving the Orioles a 4-0 lead that would hold for the remainder of the game. The White Sox bullpen held the Orioles off the board the rest of the way, and Feldman just kept the White Sox reeling until he recorded the 27th out.
The Red Sox and Yankees are still playing, and the Rays are on the west coast tonight, so we won't know if the Orioles picked up a game in the Wild Card race for a while, but this was a refreshing win no matter what, and they can't end the night any further out of the picture than they started it. Maybe there's a little bit of magic left in this season yet.