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Late-inning rally falls short as Orioles lose to White Sox, 8-6

Trey Mancini hit two homers and the O’s scored four runs in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough. Oh, and another pitcher got injured.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that one was almost interesting.

The Orioles, thanks to a furious four-run rally in the seventh inning, added a modicum of excitement to a game that had been shaping up as a White Sox blowout to that point. But in the end, the 2018 Orioles remained the 2018 Orioles and did what they do best: lose.

Hefty right-hander Luis Ortiz was on the mound for his first major league start, and not only did he not pitch well, but an injury forced him to an early exit. Just like every young player imagines their debut.

The first batter Ortiz faced, Yoan Moncada, ripped a double into the left-field corner and later came around to score. Still, Ortiz managed to get three outs in the first inning, which is more than can be said for the second. With one down, third baseman Renato Nunez speared a Tim Anderson bouncer but then dropped the ball as he tried to get it out of his glove, resulting in his sixth error with the Orioles (which at least is an improvement from the five errors in eight games he made with the Rangers earlier this season).

Former O’s prospect Nicky Delmonico, once traded for the useless Francisco Rodriguez, lashed an RBI triple and moved to third on a groundout. Then came a bizarre play. Moncada hit a bouncer to Chris Davis a few feet behind first base. Ortiz was late covering the bag — not because he wasn’t hustling, but because he’s just slow — and Davis, not sure if Ortiz would get there in time, kept the ball for himself and tried to beat Moncada in a footrace, which he did not. Delmonico scored on the gift infield single to make it a 3-0 game.

Adding injury to insult, Ortiz appeared to hurt his leg while slamming on the brakes to avoid crashing into Davis at first base. He stayed in for one more batter — a walk — before the Orioles realized something was amiss and pulled him from the game.

All in all, it was a forgettable debut start for Ortiz. He lasted 1.2 innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk. His injury robbed him of a chance to improve his stat line. And yet another O’s pitcher has gone down with an ailment, joining Andrew Cashner (knee) and Alex Cobb (blister) on the shelf. The Birds’ rotation for the final two-plus weeks is going to be fascinating, and probably grotesque.

Once Jimmy Yacabonis got involved, the game really got out of hand. The long reliever was tagged for a pair of two-run homers — by Omar Narvaez and Avisail Garcia — to boost the White Sox run total to seven.

The White Sox handed the ball to veteran James Shields, who entered the game as the major league leader in losses even though he doesn’t pitch for the Orioles. By the way he dominated the O’s tonight, you would’ve thought Shields was still the same guy who once fronted the dominant Tampa Bay Rays rotation instead of the barely playable pitcher who has struggled for the past three years. In six strong innings, Shields held the O’s to just two runs, both on Trey Mancini solo homers.

With a 7-2 lead, the White Sox comfortably handed the ball to their bullpen in the seventh — and then got real uncomfortable real quick. Left-hander Aaron Bummer, with one out, allowed Nunez to reach on a routine grounder toward first base. Bummer and first baseman Jose Abreu failed to communicate about who should field the ball and who should cover the base, and so neither one did either.

A single and a walk later, the bases were loaded, and the White Sox made a pitching change. Boy, Bummer’s outing was a real...disappointment. You might almost call it a...letdown.

Against right-hander Ian Hamilton, pinch-hitter Corban Joseph worked a sensational at-bat, seeing nine pitches — including four foul balls — before lacing a sharp single up the middle to plate two runners. With that, he tripled his career RBI total. Then, the O’s caught a break when Cedric Mullins bounced a tailor-made double-play ball to second, only for Moncada to boot it and get nobody out. Another run scored, making it a 7-5 game.

A free pass to Jonathan Villar loaded the bases again for Adam Jones. Suddenly the once-sleepy Camden Yards was alive, or as alive as a mostly empty stadium can be, as O’s fans implored Jones to bash his second grand slam of the season.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. Jones drove a deep fly to right field that was just a few feet short of going out, with Garcia making the catch at the wall. It went as a sacrifice fly, cutting the Orioles’ deficit to 7-6, but Hamilton struck out Mancini with two runners aboard to prevent further damage.

Tanner Scott gave up a deflating insurance run in the top of the eighth on a homer by Ryan Cordell, which was his first major league hit. That pushed the White Sox lead to 8-6, and that — despite the O’s putting a runner aboard in both the eighth and ninth — is how it would end.

The Orioles were, once again, a day late and a dollar short, and they now have 105 losses to show for it.