While watching Chris Tillman and Jose Quintana battle to a draw after five innings, one got the sinking feeling that this one might be decided by the bullpens. It never came to that. The Orioles' hitters made the most of their third look at Quintana and put the game essentially out of reach with a three-run sixth while Tillman mowed down the Sox hitters.
Quintana's command turned shaky in the first inning after an impressive strikeout of Nick Markakis to lead off the game. The attack started when Steve Pearce roped a one-out double to the left field corner. Adam Jones followed that up with a humpback liner over the head of Alexei Ramirez to score Pearce. The Orioles only managed that one run, but that was fortunate, as plenty of mistake pitches were subsequently fed to the heart of the Baltimore lineup and they were hit very hard. Fortunately, Nelson Cruz's would-be two run homer wound up a few feet foul and J.J. Hardy's scalded line drive was hit right at Jordan Danks.
Tillman looked sharp out of the gate, but after wiping out Alejandro De Aza on a questionable strike call and getting a weak pop-up from Alexei Ramirez, he decided to groove an 0-1 fastball to Jose Abreu. Jose Abreu, in turn, decided to make his triumphant return to home run hitting after an 18-game hiatus. He crushed one to about the tenth row in the bleachers in left-center to tie the game at 1.
Both pitchers got into a groove after allowing their respective runs in the first inning. Tillman brought the Sox offense to a screeching halt, scattering just two other hits and a walk while striking out nine in eight innings of work. He had great command of his fastball and curveball and generally owned the outer half of the plate, particularly against right-handed hitters.
Quintana went on an impressive run, himself. After the top of the first, he didn't allow the ball to leave the infield until Jordan Danks made a nice running catch to end the fourth inning on a ball that Hardy smoked to deep center field. He didn't allow another baserunner until Nick Hundley's ultimately harmless two-out single in the fifth.
The Orioles finally broke the tie in the sixth, starting a rally when Jones squeezed a one-out double inside the first base line. After a flyout by Cruz, Sox-killer Delmon Young cashed him in with a base hit up the middle. That brought Hardy to the plate. After lining out hard to center field twice, Hardy finally got on base by squeaking a slow bouncer past Gordon Beckham. Chris Davis followed that up by crushing a double to right-center, scoring both runners and giving the Orioles a 4-1 lead.
Daniel Webb relieved Quintana to start the seventh, and Hundley rather violently deposited the first pitch he threw into the left field seats to give the Orioles an insurance run. That was the only blemish on Webb's line, however, as he retired the other six batters he faced in two innings of work.
The Orioles brought former closer Tommy Hunter in to finish the game, but the Sox couldn't tag him for anything more than a two-out single. After Abreu's homer, the White Sox never safely reached second base.
*De Aza was frozen by a backdoor curveball in the bottom of the first. The pitch was clearly not a strike, and Alejandro added to his 2014 scrapbook of trademark grimaces.
*Jordan Danks had a good game in center field, as he read hard-hit balls from Hardy and Hundley very well and made a couple nice plays at the edge of his range.
*Blah blah no hitting blah blah loss. Here's what you really came here for. After the bottom of the 3rd inning, Hawk Harrelson took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from the Fundamentals Deck. He chose to put Dan Plesac, Ray Fosse, our very own Herm Schneider, and Southpaw on the clock. Hawk got hit with two full Gatorade coolers full of ice water in succession; first Southpaw attacked from the right, then Jim Thome swooped in from the left. Hawk came out of the ordeal oddly bobbing his head like a pigeon and flapping his arms like a chicken. When he got back to the broadcast booth, he was asked how it felt. Hawk's reply? "Cold! Damn cold!"