The lesson: Chris Sale is a better pitcher than Ronald Belisario. And also, that's a hard way for the White Sox to lose a fifth straigth game.
Belisario didn't have command tonight, and it showed. Entering the game with a 4-3 lead, Belisario allowed a smoked single to center by Steve Pearce, then plunked Adam Jones in the kidney to put the tying run into scoring position. He then found some footing with a nice strikeout of Nelson Cruz, and proceeded to get ahead of pinch-hitting Chris Davis 1-2.
Belisario missed with a backdoor slider and a sinker to load the count, then came back with one more slider. It was a hanger, and Davis didn't miss it, knocking it several rows deep into the right-field seats for the three-run walk-off.
That doused what could've been a morale-building victory, with the Sox showing some resilience that has eluded them as of late. Sale fell behind 2-0 three batters in when Jones' line drive skimmed the top of the left-center wall for a two-run homer.
That swing by Jones signaled the kind of battle that lay ahead for Sale, who failed to retire the side in order in any of his six innings.
First: After the homer, Delmon Young singled through the left side, but J.J. Hardy's lashed liner to right was hit right at Moises Sierra in right.
Second: Sale retired the first two (although Manny Machado lined out sharply to short on the first pitch) before Caleb Joseph hit a ground-rule double to left to extend the inning. Nick Markakis popped out to strand him.
Third: Two one-out singles -- including one that Conor Gillaspie hit the ground unnecessarily on, and it could've been called an error when he couldn't recover -- put runners on the corners with one out. Sale pulled himself out of it by striking out Delmon Young and Hardy, only his second and third swinging strikes of the game.
Fourth: The Orioles opened with consecutive singles. After a sac bunt, Sale grazed Markakis' jersey with an inside fastball on a 1-2 count to load the bases. Steve Pearce flied out to medium right field, with the reputation of Moises Sierra's arm freezing the runner at third, and Sale closed the door by striking out Jones with high heat.
Fifth: The Orioles greeted Sale with three straight singles. With the Sox trailing 2-1, the infield came in ... and it actually worked out. Machado hit a bouncer to third, and Gillaspie threw home for the force out. On the very next pitch, Jonathan Schoop grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Sixth: Sale's easiest inning of the night was his last one. Joseph opened with -- you guessed it -- a leadoff single, a flare that Adam Eaton did not read. Joseph didn't get to scoring position, though, because Markakis grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Three pitches later, Pearce took Sale deep ... but not deep enough, as Adam Eaton caught it right in front of the 410-foot marker.
Still, by the time he was officially lifted from the game, the Sox held a 4-2 lead. Jose Abreu did the heavy lifting on the offensive end.
The Sox tagged Wei-Yin Chen for a run in the third. With one out, Adam Eaton singled and moved to third on Gordon Beckham's double. Abreu then hit a hard grounder toward third, but Machado took a single away with a nice back-handed play for the run-scoring 5-3.
In the sixth, Abreu hit the ball hard again. This time, he got some lift, and he got that sound. The result -- a game-tying solo homer to start the inning, and the Sox weren't done. Dayan Viciedo followed with a double, and two batters later, Conor Gillaspie dropped a double down the left-field line that went in and out of the glove of a diving Nelson Cruz, giving the Sox a 3-2 lead.
Abreu tacked on another run in the seventh when he beat the shift ... with a flyball. It hung in the air for quite a while, but it was hit closer to the line than Cruz was playing. With a full count and two outs, Tyler Flowers scored easily from first, and the Sox led 4-2.
But after a sound inning by Javy Guerra, Zach Putnam gave up a solo shot to Joseph in the eighth on a hanging 2-2 splitter with two outs. It's like none of the right-handers are allowed to separate themselves from each other in terms of reliability, which is why I'm up for giving Andre Rienzo a shot there.