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Orioles 2, White Sox 4: Late-inning rally falls short this time

Miguel Gonzalez put the Orioles in an early hole and the offense wasted some key scoring opportunities as the Orioles lost to the White Sox 4-2.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get this out of the way: Miguel Gonzalez didn’t pitch well tonight. He wasn’t awful, but he wasn’t good. In short, he was Miguel Gonzalez. In the first inning he gave up a solo shot to Gordon Beckham to make it 1-0 White Sox. In the second inning, Alexei Ramirez doubled to lead it off. He moved to third on a groundout by Dayan Viciedo and scored when Alejandro de Aza singled.

Gonzalez had a 1-2-3 third inning, but the White Sox struck again in the fourth when Tyler Flowers singled home Viciedo with two outs. That hit put runners at the corners, and Gonzalez walked Adam Eaton to load the bases. Things looked bleak when Gordeon Beckham hit a tough Baltimore Chop, but Gonzalez was able to field it and get the out at first base.

The starter would make it through the fifth inning unscathed, but it required a Houdini act that had Orioles’ fans hearts pounding. Conor Gillaspie and Jose Abreu singled open the frame and Adam Dunn walked to load the bases with no outs. It looked bad, but Ramirez popped out over the infield and Viciedo hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

Miguel's night was done after nine hits, including a homer, three walks, and a strikeout. T.J. McFarland pitched the sixth and seventh in the workmanlike fashion he’s known for: a couple hits and a strikeout but a lot of ground balls and no runs allowed.

Meanwhile, the Orioles got a few baserunners during the first five innings but couldn’t bring anyone around. That is, until the sixth when Steve Pearce homered on the first pitch he saw to make it 3-1. Adam Jones doubled, and fans had visions of a big inning dancing in their heads. But Nelson Cruz struck out, so did Chris Davis, and J.J. Hardy flew out to right field. The team's hitters threatened again in the seventh, when Manny Machado singled and Joseph walked with one out, but Nick Markakis grounded into a rally-killing double play.

The White Sox took advantage of some defensive lapses by the Orioles to score in the eighth. With Tommy Hunter pitching, Alexei Ramirez singled to lead off the inning. After two pickoff attempts, he promptly stole second. He would’ve been out by about two feet, but Jonathan Schoop couldn’t handle the throw from Caleb Joseph.

A few pitches later, Joseph failed to glove a two-seamer and Ramirez moved up to third on the passed ball. With the infield now in, Viciedo grounded out. Alejandro de Aza hit a bouncer to Schoop, who fired home well ahead of the charging Ramirez. Joseph fielded the ball and stuck his left hand out in the general vicinity of the runner but pulled his glove back well short of actually tagging him. Ramirez had contorted himself into a nice slide and scored to make it 4-1 White Sox. It was just strange to note that the ball easily beat Ramirez to both second base and to home, but neither defender could actually make the play. He should’ve been out twice.

The score remained there until the bottom of the ninth, when the Orioles rallied a bit against the White Sox bullpen. Chris Davis led off against veteran Scott Downs. Davis was fooled badly on some slow breaking balls but managed to get just enough of one to bloop it over the head of a leaping Beckham. With the lefty-lefty matchup gone, Robin Ventura brought in last night’s goat, Ronald Bellisario, to pitch to the righties. J.J. Hardy hit a ground ball straight back to him that forced Davis at second. Manny Machado singled though, and Buck pinch-hit for Schoop with Delmon Young. He delivered an RBI single that gave fans hope, scoring Hardy and making it 4-2.

But a second straight comeback was not to be. Ryan Flaherty, pinch-hitting for Caleb Joseph, fought off a few pitches but ended up grounding into a game-ending double play.

Source: FanGraphs

The loss snaps the Orioles’ three-game win streak and sends them to 40-36. The White Sox break a five-game skid and move to 36-42. The rubber match is tomorrow when Hector Noesi faces Ubaldo Jimenez.