CHICAGO - Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked whether he felt like he watched two different games tonight.
“How about four?” he replied.
The Orioles were down 4-1 before batting back to tie the game in the ninth and win it easily in the 10th, 10-4. They made mistakes, they made the White Sox look sloppy. They failed in the clutch, they came up huge in the clutch.
“We gave them some runs and we didn’t take advantage of some things,” Showalter said. “I think it was kind of almost like letting out some frustration, all the opportunities we had missed and some of the things we helped them with.”
Showalter wanted to make sure Jake Arrieta wasn’t overlooked.
“Jake was the difference,” Showalter said. “Everything will be forgotten, but Jake was outstanding. That was very encouraging, the way he pitched again tonight. I won’t throw it out the window. And we put a couple good swings on some balls and they carried out.
“Jake had the type of stuff to pitch eight or nine innings tonight. His pitch count was down early and we did some things that made him stretch out some innings. Jake was as key to the game as anything. If we can keep getting deep in games like that, a lot of things can happen for us.”
Nolan Reimold came off the bench in the seventh and struck out, but homered and delivered an RBI single in his next two at-bats. Adam Jones tied the game with a two-out homer in the ninth. Chris Davis doubled to score the go-ahead run in the 10th. And Matt Wieters homered twice, including a grand slam after it appeared that the Orioles would fail to tack on more runs in the 10th after scoring twice and loading the bases with no outs.
“There’s so much want-to there,” Showalter said. “You can look for a breaking ball or a changeup because you know they’re going to try to use your aggressiveness and your want-to against you. But we’ve got to keep in mind they have to be strikes, too, and Matt’s a good example of that in that last at-bat. He spit on some breaking balls and finally got one up in the zone that he could put a swing on. It’s such a fine line, trying not to cross over between their wanting it so bad. I think as the season goes on, some of that will slow down a bit.”
Arrieta watched the eighth inning from the dugout before retreating to the clubhouse for the last two innings.
“Very exciting, obviously,” he said. “In the ninth inning, Reimold hitting that home run and facing a really tough left-handed closer there (Hector Santiago), a guy throwing in the mid-90s with a great breaking ball and a good changeup. Hitting those two big home runs speaks a lot about our offense, the way they’re able to swing the bats, especially late in the game in that type of situation.
“Jones came up huge there to tie the game with that home run, and obviously with the outburst in the 10th inning, contributions from everybody. Davis swung the bat well and Wieters with two big home runs. Just very excited and very happy for all those guys.”
Arrieta had 65 pitches through the fifth, but was forced to throw 30 in the sixth. He allowed four runs, but only two were earned. He walked one intentionally and struck out seven.
“I feel like I commanded the ball very well for the most part,” he said. “Being able to throw my backdoor sinker to right-handed hitters and run that in to lefties was really big for me tonight. Got a couple broken bats, a couple weak ground balls on it, and I feel like I’m going to be able to carry that over into my future starts.
“We had a couple errors, a couple miscues on defense and had to face a few more hitters than necessary, but they picked me up and that’s what good teams have to do. We’re going to make errors on defense just like everybody else in the league, but it speaks highly of our offense being able to put that behind us and really come out and continue to swing the bats well. The six runs in the 10th really speaks very highly for those guys.”