About halfway through this game, the Orioles realized they were supposed to be contending, and the White Sox realized they were supposed to be rebuilding.
Miguel Gonzalez, with some assistance from the White Sox defense, blew a 5-1 lead over the course of ugly pair of middle innings, with Welington Castillo launching the fatal blow with a two-out grand slam in the fifth.
Part of Gonzalez’s downfall was bad luck. For instance, the Orioles loaded the bases with a couple of seeing-eye singles sandwiching a walk, and then Todd Frazier threw wildly home on a Castillo chopper to third, denying Gonzalez at least one out. Gonzalez came back to strike out David Washington and J.J. Hardy, but Hyun Soo Kim bashed a single past a diving Yolmer Sanchez to make it a 5-4 game.
Gonzalez recovered to retire the first two batters of the fifth inning, but Mark Trumbo lined a single to left, and Trey Mancini dropped a blooper to right to put runners on the corners. After getting ahead of Jonathan Schoop 0-2, he failed to give Schoop anything tempting to swing at save one grooved fastball Schoop fouled off. He ended up walking him on nine pitches to bring Castillo to the plate. On a 1-1 count, Gonzalez grooved another fastball, and Castillo sent it out to center for his first career slam.
Just like that, the Orioles went from trailing 5-4 to leading 8-5, and the White Sox never threatened again.
Not that you can blame the White Sox offense that much. They made Dylan Bundy, Baltimore’s best starter, labor in the early innings. Tim Anderson smashed a single past shortstop with the bases loaded for two first-inning runs after Bundy had set down the first two batters, giving Chicago a quick 2-0 lead.
Matt Davidson then led off the second inning by homering in his third straight game. Two batters later, Sanchez took a pitch to the hip, then moved to third on Melky Cabrera’s single. Sanchez rounded third so aggressively that Schoop thought he had a legitimate shot to catch Sanchez off the bag. He didn’t, and even better, Schoop’s throw sailed out of play. That allowed Sanchez to score and Cabrera to take third, and Cabrera scored on a Jose Abreu sac fly to make it a 5-1 game.
Alas, the White Sox couldn’t find another run until Alen Hanson hit a pinch-hit homer off Mychal Givens to start the ninth. Abreu did compel Buck Showalter to bring in Brad Brach after a two-out single, but Avisail Garcia lined out to end the game, and the Orioles snapped an 11-game road losing streak.
*Mike Pelfrey pitched the ninth, which was a little odd considering Rick Renteria only needed Juan Minaya (two innings) and Dan Jennings (one inning) before him.
*Minaya was optioned to Charlotte after the game, with a corresponding move to come (it might be James Shields).
*Garcia raised his average to .339 with a 3-for-5 night.