CHICAGO - Manager Buck Showalter counted three mental errors by the Orioles tonight, which played a role in their 8-1 loss to the White Sox at rainy U.S. Cellular Field.
The most glaring one came in the sixth inning, after left-hander Troy Patton replaced starter Tommy Hunter with the bases loaded, two outs and the White Sox leading, 5-1. Catcher Matt Wieters called for a breaking ball. That’s not what he got.
Adam Dunn, batting .179 before tonight, cleared the bases with a double, and the Orioles never got back into the game.
“Really, we missed a sign there,” Showalter said. “Matt was expecting a breaking ball and got a fastball, so we’ve got to do a better job with that. But that was a good swing by Adam Dunn. He hit it about the only place he could hit it. He’s too productive of a hitter over his career not to at some point hurt you.”
Nolan Reimold committed a physical error in left field earlier in the inning, but Mark Reynolds made two outstanding plays at third base.
The defense is “something I think will be a strength of ours as the season plays on,” Showalter said. “I think as everybody’s clock slows down, they’ll start reaching their track record. Kevin (Gregg) made a real nice play, Chris (Davis) knocked the ball down, but we made some mental errors we can’t do. We had about three of them and we’re better than that.”
Jake Peavy was better than everyone, holding the Orioles to one run and four hits over seven innings. He walked none and struck out eight.
“Everything gets so magnified because of the way Peavy’s pitching and you know runs are going to be at a premium,” Showalter said. “You can’t let them get too far away from you because he’s not going to give up a whole lot when he’s commanding the changeup and doing a lot of things he does with the baseball. It’s a reminder what kind of pitcher this guy has been for a long, long time. That’s one of the better pitchers in the National League before he came over.”
Hunter was charged with eight runs in 5 2/3 innings, the most he’s surrendered in a start since July 20, 2010 against the Angels. He walked four and struck out eight.
“Tommy, the walks are one thing, but he actually dodged a bullet a couple innings there. But he did get fairly deep in the game and kept us from having to use too many people,” Showalter said.
Hunter has allowed six home runs in his last two starts.
“Obviously, you don’t want to give it up,” Showalter said. “I think the concern’s been, not just Tommy, but some of our guys...we can’t get that shutdown inning right after we go ahead. (Endy) Chavez gave us a quick lead there and you’d like to go out there and throw a zero on the board.
“Tommy kept backing himself into at-bats against the people you don’t want to have people on base against, and that was really a killer because (A.J.) Pierzynski is as hot a hitter as there is in baseball right now. He’s seeing the ball real well. And (Paul) Konerko’s been doing it for a long time. We kept backing ourselves into situations where the at-bat was coming to them and you can’t keep doing that.”