Well, that'll help the ol' run differential.
The Orioles stopped a three-game losing streak and avoided a sweep by the White Sox with a resounding 9-1 victory this afternoon. The big difference was the White Sox defense, which committed four errors that led to three unearned runs. It wasn't hard to see why they have the majors' worse defensive rating, 37.9 runs below average as measured by FanGraphs.
The tomfoolery started with the second batter of the game. With one out, Nolan Reimold chopped a ground ball to third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who not only muffed the play but threw the ball into the first-base dugout, allowing Reimold to move to second. Reimold came across the plate when the next batter, Adam Jones, doubled him home to make it 1-0 Orioles.
Jonathan Schoop provided some excitement in the second inning when he homered over the left-center wall to make it 2-0 Orioles. Schoop's last game was over two months ago, on April 17th. That was most of what the Orioles batters could put together against White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, who was the third pick in last year's draft and features a wicked slider. He was not especially sharp today; although he struck out seven, he walked four batters in the process and served up Schoop's shot.
The Orioles had a chance again in the 5th inning when Manny Machado led off with a walk and stole second and then third base in the span of a few pitches. But with a runner on third and no outs, Rodon proceeded to strike out Reimold, Jones, and then Chris Davis in order. The 6th inning proved more fruitful as Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes singled to start the inning. Daniel Webb replaced Rodon on the mound and got both Hardy and Schoop to pop out ineffectively. The next batter up was Caleb Joseph, who worked the count to 3-2 before fouling off a few pitches. He eventually got one he could drive and did so all the way to the right-center wall, scoring both runners and making it 4-0 Orioles.
Meanwhile, Miguel Gonzalez was busy being Miguel Gonzalez. He struck out only three batters, but he walked only one and didn't allow a dinger. He and the Orioles defense combined to allow just four hits and one run, which came in the bottom of the 6th after Joseph had driven in those two runners. With one out, Jose Abreu singled on a ball that just tipped off the end of Machado's glove. Melky Cabrera then ripped a double into the right-center gap that was fielded by Chris Davis at the wall. As Abreu scored, Cabrera rounded second and headed for third. That's not something you really want to do when your team's down by three runs in the sixth, and the decision proved costly as Davis's throw arrived in time to nail Cabrera at third base for the second out of the inning.
Things got out of hand in the 7th as the White Sox defense unraveled. David Lough pinch-hit for Reimold and singled into left field to lead off the inning. Webb walked Adam Jones on four pitches, which I imagine doesn't happen very often, and then Chris Davis singled through the shift to bring in Lough and make it 5-1 Orioles. With runners on the corners, White Sox manager Robin Ventura moved the infield in to prevent Jones from scoring on a grounder. Steve Pearce did hit a grounder, but one that would've been fielded had the defense been playing at normal depth. Instead it snuck through for a hit and Jones did score to give the Orioles a 6-1 lead.
Reliver Dan Jennings (not to be confused with the Marlins manager) took the mound to try and get out of it. He did get Jimmy Paredes to line out hard to third base, but then J.J. Hardy then tapped a grounder right back to the mound. Jennings fielded it and threw wide to second base and everybody was safe. Schoop then hit a ground ball of his own to second baseman Carlos Sanchez, who bobbled and dropped the ball as he tried to force Hardy at second base. Davis scored to make it 7-1 and everybody was safe (again!). Caleb Joseph then grounded out to bring home the eighth Orioles run.
In the bottom half, Chaz Roe replaced Gonzalez and allowed just a single to Alexi Ramirez. The Orioles added a run in the eighth, but that run should've been two. With Adam Jones on third base following a double and a wild pitch, Chris Davis smacked a ball high into the air towards left field. It looked like it would be a routine flyout, but the wind carried the ball out towards the wall and actually over the fence. But J.B. Shuck, who'd been brough in as a defensive replacement, timed his jump perfectly and snagged the ball as it fell over the yellow line. The Orioles had to settle for a 9-1 score. Roe pitched the bottom of the 8th, and then Brian Matusz worked the 9th inning to finish off the White Sox.
The win bumps the Orioles to 43-39 and drops the White Sox to 36-43.