Backed by three home runs and another solid outing from their
starting pitcher Wednesday night, the Orioles beat the Chicago White
Sox 4-3 Wednesday night and swept a three-game series at U.S.
First baseman Steve Pearce, left fielder Nelson Cruz and center
fielder Adam Jones hit the homers to give left-handed starter
Wei-Yin Chen just enough run support for the win, and the Orioles
clinched their first sweep of the White Sox in Chicago since taking
four straight games July 6-9, 1995.
The Orioles are now 12-5 in their past 17 road games and 39-26 on
the road this season. Their lead is up to nine games over the
Toronto Blue Jays and 9 1/2 over the New York Yankees in the
American League East.
"If you pitch well, you give yourself some opportunities," Orioles
manager Buck Showalter said. "There's some things we weren't perfect
at tonight. When you pitch well, it can cover some things, and when
you catch the baseball. We played three good defensive games here."
As a result, the Orioles (73-52) are a season-high 21 games over
.500 heading across town Friday for a three-game interleague series
against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Chen gave up a two-run homer to White Sox right fielder Avisail
Garcia in the first inning, but allowed only one more run in his 7
1/3-inning outing -- also off Garcia's bat on a sacrifice fly in the
Like Baltimore right-handers Bud Norris and Chris Tillman in the
first two games, Chen settled into a quick pace and was economical
with his pitches. He threw 86 pitches before exiting in the eighth
with a 4-3 lead, one out and two runners on base after back-to-back
"I would say everyone else (in the rotation) is pitching better than
me, but I think it's a really good competition out there," Chen said
through an interpreter. "We all try to pitch better than each other,
so it's a really good competition."
Right-handed reliever Darren O'Day made sure Chen was credited with
not only the win but his fourth consecutive quality start. O'Day
struck out designated hitter Jose Abreu and Garcia to end the eighth
and preserve the slim lead.
"That's a tough spot for them, and (O'Day) came through big,"
Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "You get a guy, a sidewinder
like that, it's a tough at-bat for those guys. We had opportunities.
Even early on, (first baseman Paul Konerko) had a double and we
weren't able to get him in, so we had some spots where we could have
tied it up and didn't get the big hit."
Left-hander Zach Britton retired the side in order in the ninth for
his 27th save to secure the sweep, which was Baltimore's third this
season of three games or more.
Chicago right-hander Hector Noesi (7-9) pitched seven innings and
allowed four runs on seven hits. He struck out eight and didn't
issue a walk, but the three homers were too much to overcome.
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"When you leave pitches up, they're going to get you," Noesi said. "You
know when you miss a pitch, you miss the location (and) they go for it."
Chicago (59-68) lost for the 10th time in 14 games, falling nine games
below the .500 mark for the first time this season. Ventura, though,
doesn't see the fire starting to flicker in his team during the "dog
days" of August.
"No, they're competing," he said. "Effort-wise, they're coming in and
competing. I'm impressed with that. They come and work, and effort-wise
they're getting after it. The results might not be there right now, but
effort-wise guys are doing what they're supposed to be doing."
Chen did what was expected of him too. He pitched another strong game
against the White Sox, improving to 2-0 record and 3.26 ERA in five
starts against them -- including his first major league win on April 17,
2012, at U.S. Cellular Field.
NOTES: White Sox CF Adam Eaton, on the 15-day disabled list because of a
strained right oblique, took batting practice before the game and is
getting ready for a rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte. He isn't likely
to come off the DL on Sunday when he' is first eligible. ... Chicago's
top position player prospect, 2B Micah Johnson, was shut down for the
remainder of the season at Charlotte to allow an injured hamstring to
fully heal. ... Chicago GM Rick Hahn said the club might call up more
prospects than usual once the rosters expand in September. Among them
could be LHP Carlos Rodon, the White Sox's No. 1 pick from this summer's
draft (third overall). Hahn said Rodon, who struck out three in three
innings in his Triple-A debut Tuesday night, appears to be on the fast
track to the major leagues. ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter cautioned
against assuming RHP Ubaldo Jimenez will stay in the bullpen long term.
"He might start next week, I don't know," Showalter said. "We said
that's where he's going to be for right now and we'll see what the needs
of the club are (later)."
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