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Orioles 5, White Sox 3: Opportunities go to waste

The South Siders outhit Baltimore, 11-5, but it was not enough

Chicago White Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Starting off strong: Eloy Jiménez drove in a pair with a home run in the first inning. Jiménez later left the game after getting hit by a pitch in the eighth.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Despite starting off with a bang in the top of the first, the White Sox (62-61) came up short in Baltimore against the Orioles (64-58), 5-3.

The South Siders got off to an uncharacteristically fast start on offense. Scoring has been an issue for the White Sox offense, which has struggled immensely despite getting almost unlimited singles. In this game, however, AJ Pollock started strong, as he lined a single to begin things against Austin Voth. Luis Robert flexed his power with a deep line drive, but it resulted in a loud out. But Eloy Jiménez ensured that despite Robert’s bad luck, the White Sox would not leave the top of the first empty-handed.

That was his seventh home run of the season, and the White Sox’s first home run since Yoán Moncada hit one on August 18 (a game they lost, 21-5). It is nice to see one get over the wall again.

That home run was not the only one of the inning; unfortunately, another occurred in the bottom half. Cedric Mullins led off with a bunt single, and starter Dylan Cease issued an eight-pitch walk to Adley Rutschman. The next hitter was Anthony Santander, who took a 2-0 fastball down the middle to deep right. Luckily, it barely stayed in the park, settling harmlessly in Gavin Sheets’ glove. However, the next hitter, Ryan Mountcastle, made Cease pay for a mistake. After getting ahead in the count, Mountcastle launched a 3-1 slider that caught too much of the plate over the center-field wall. Just like that, Baltimore had a 3-2 lead.

Even though the teams scored a total of five runs in the first inning, both offenses got quiet afterward. Cease settled down and only allowed one hit over the next four innings. Meanwhile, the White Sox offense reverted to its normal version: lots of singles but not much else. In the middle of the sixth, the Orioles still had a 3-2 lead despite being outhit, 7-2.

Cease finally ran into trouble again in the bottom of the sixth. Mullins led off that inning with a four-pitch walk, and he proceeded to advance to second on a pickoff attempt error. Cease got charged with that error, though José Abreu likely should have been able to field Cease’s throw. With Mullins in scoring position, Santander stepped up to the plate with one out, and he drove in a big insurance run with a single. That made the score 4-2, and Cease’s outing was over after 5 13 innings, four runs (all earned), three hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.

In the seventh, reliever Dillon Tate took over on the mound for Baltimore, and he was greeted rather rudely by Robert. The talented center fielder launched a ball that would have been a home run in any of the other 29 MLB stadiums.

But, because this game was in Baltimore, Robert had to settle for a double after briefly admiring his blast. Robert’s hesitancy to run and the new, bizarre dimensions of the stadium did not end up costing the White Sox a run, however. After a two-out walk to Moncada and a single by pinch-hitter Andrew Vaughn, it was 4-3. The inning ended when Elvis Andrus grounded into a force out.

The bottom of the seventh did not go as smoothly as the White Sox bullpen would have preferred. With one out, Austin Hays legged out a double, and he hustled over to third on a foul pop out. With two outs and a runner on third, Jimmy Lambert took over for Jake Diekman on the mound, and Lambert did not get the job done. Jorge Mateo singled to drive in an insurance run and put the Orioles back ahead by a pair.

In the eighth, with the bases empty and one out, Seby Zavala set the table with a double. Stop me if you have heard this before, but this blast also would have been a home run anywhere else.

Zavala finished 2-for-3 with that double and a walk, as he had an excellent day at the plate. Ultimately, though, if the White Sox did not score, it would not matter. Pollock helped matters by beating out a an infield single that was placed nicely. With runners on the corners with one out, the potential go-ahead run came to the plate.

Félix Bautista, a flamethrower, took over on the mound and immediately struck out Robert, who had a great day otherwise, on three pitches. Then, with two outs, Jiménez fell behind 0-2, but Bautista exhibited some wildness. Bautista missed way up with a fastball, and Pollock managed to advance to second as a result. Then, Bautista hit Jiménez with a 102.3 mph fastball, and Jiménez had to leave the game. The ball appeared to hit Eloy’s elbow pad, so hopefully Jiménez is not seriously injured.

That loaded the bases for Abreu, who worked a solid at-bat against Bautista. Abreu took a near-perfect fastball to open the at-bat, and then he wisely took two pitches that worked the count to 2-1. He proceeded to foul off a tough fastball to even the count before laying off of a tricky splitter to push the count full. Bautista followed with another high fastball, and it would have been ball No. 4, but Abreu chased it for strike three.

Tanner Banks, who rejoined the team today to replace the injured Michael Kopech on the roster, delivered a perfect bottom of the eighth. However, his performance did not change the outcome, as the White Sox went down quietly in the ninth.

The White Sox suffered their fifth loss in their last six games despite outhitting the Orioles, 11-5. For the 13th time in their 22 August games, the White Sox finished with fewer than four runs. Story of the season, eh?

The White Sox will be back in action tomorrow evening in Baltimore. That game is scheduled to begin at 6:05 p.m. Central. Lucas Giolito and Spenser Watkins are the probable starting pitchers. As usual, NBC Sports Chicago and WMVP 1000 AM will cover the game. We hope to see you then.