Written by Chris Slade
Today's afternoon matchup on Fox (which was blacked out in my viewing area, thanks) featured a matchup of lefthanders Wei-Yin Chen (7-87, 3.82 ERA) and Hector Santiago (4-8, 3.44 ERA). The Orioles struck first when Chris Davis hit an RBI double that managed to score Manny Machado from first base. The White Sox would then tie things up in the 4th on a Paul Konerko RBI single in the 4th and take a brief 2-1 lead in the 5th on a Dayan Viciedo solo HR. I say brief because Brian Roberts responded in the bottom half of the 5th with a solo HR of his own to tie the game back up 2-2. The next several innings would pass with the Orioles failing to come through with a key hit with runners in scoring position. The White Sox gave the Orioles every opportunity to beat them but the O's kept beating themselves.
The White Sox had had enough when the game went to extras and finally put a run on the board via Conor Gillaspie solo HR againstt Tommy Hunter. Down 3-2 in the 10th, the Orioles put a runner on when Henry Urrutia notched a pinch hit single in place of Alexi Casilla. Chris Dickerson was brought on to pinch run. Markakis blooped a single into left putting runners on the corners. Markakis stole second on a pitch that was called strike three to Nate McLouth. With two outs, Matt Wieters came up with a two RBI single into right field, giving the Orioles a clutch hit they struggled to find all afternoon. It couldn't have come at a better time as the base hit gave the O's a 4-3 walkoff win.
Wei-Yin Chen entered this game not fairing too well in his previous two starts (11 runs and 12 hits in 7 2/3 innings, with eight walks and 10 strikeouts). The White Sox proved to be the right team for him to get back on track with. Chen was very sharp through the first three innings, allowing just one hit and no walks along with three strikeouts. The White Sox were able to manufacture a run against Chen in the 4th on a Paul Konerko RBI single. Dayan Viciedo would then hit a solo tank in the 5th. Those would be the only two runs Chen allowed today over six innings of work. He commanded the strike zone mutch better this time out and was able to notch eight punchouts against the hapless White Sox lineup. He would be no-decisioned.
Final Line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, ND
Darren O'Day took over for Chen in the 7th, notching a three up-three down inning of work with a strikout to Marcus Semien. O'Day remained in the game to work the 8th and worked another scoreless inning allowing just a walk to Adam Dunn.
Jim Johnson was then brought on to keep the game tied in the 9th. He succeeded, retiring the side in order, including a stikeout of Avisail Garcia.
The Orioles continued to not hit with runners on so Tommy Hunter was brought on to pitch the 10th. Hunter recorded to strikouts but sandwiched between those two K's was a solo HR off the bat of Conor Gillaspie. Luckily, the Orioles would pull out a win, making Hunter the pitcher of record.
The Orioles continued to struggle hitting with runners in scoring position. In fact, let's put it bluntly; they were awful today. 1-for-17 to be exact (until Wieters). And that one hit was an Adam Jones bunt single that moved Machado to third in the 5th.
The two most frustrating innings were the bottom of the 5th and the 8th. In the 5th, after Brian Roberts led off with a solo HR, the Orioles got Jones and Machado on first and third with no outs. Chris Davis and J.J Hardy hit two meek infield popouts followed by Valencia grounding out to first.
In the 8th inning the Orioles got a leadoff double from Valencia who was pinch run for by Alexi Casilla. The White Sox "were practically begging the Orioles to score" as Steve Melewski put it in a tweet when catcher Josh Phegley airmailed a throw, allowing Casilla to reach third. Once again, the Orioles failed to get the runner in.
Manny Machado and Adam Jones each went 2-for-5 in the game. Manuel recorded his 47th double of the season in the 5th.
Danny Valencia continues to own lefthanders, going 3-for-4 today with two doubles.
Backup catcher Chris Snyder had a nice day's work behind the plate. His highlight came in the 8th when he gunned down Jordan Danks (yes, John's brother) at second base, getting some help from Brian Roberts on a perfect tag.
Speaking of Roberts, he has been playing some sharp infield defense lately. Great to see him healthy and productive again.
J.J Hardy made a rare throwing error, just his tenth error of the season, in the 7th inning.
Key Moments In The Game
Urrutia and Markakis both singled giving runners on the corners with one out in the 10th. Here we go again. Nate McLouth extended the Orioles streak of futility to 1-for-17 on the day by striking out looking. Markakis stole second on the pitch. It would all come down to Matt Wieters (who pinch hit for Chris Snyder in the 8th) who could end the game with a base hit for a win, or end it with a loss if the White Sox recorded the third out. No pressure, kid.
By golly, he did it! The Orioles finally get a key hit with runners in scoring position and somehow pull a win out of their behinds as Matt Wieters was mobbed at first base. I, and I'm sure many others who sat through this frustrating game, breathed a huge sigh of relief.
That was Nick Markakis's first stolen base of the season in the 10th! Better delayed than denied and had he not stolen second the O's might still be playing in extras.
Joe Angel made an one of those subtley odd comments you hear every so often from him during the radio broadcasts saying, "And now batting, the smoking hot Danny Valencia. I'm talking about his bat not his looks."
The Orioles have hit seven home runs in this series. All solo's. Not how Earl Weaver drew it up.
Danny Valencia now 18-for-31 with 8 multi hot games overs his last 9 starts. Keep playin' him.
The Orioles won 4-3 today and I am now 4-3 in games that I have written the recap for. Coincidence? Yes, that's exactly what it is.
O's go for much needed four game sweep tomorrow afternoon at 1:05
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