Slow start for Saunders, sensational start for Arrieta (O’s lose 8-1)

This isn’t the way left-hander Joe Saunders imagined that his Orioles debut would unfold.

Four of the first five White Sox reached base against Saunders, who allowed four runs and four hits in the first inning.

Chicago loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, and Alex Rios stroked a two-run double. Alexei Ramirez looped a two-out, two-run single into right field before catcher Tyler Flowers struck out on Saunders’ 31st pitch.

In his last three starts, including two with the Diamondbacks, Saunders has allowed 18 runs and 23 hits in 10 2/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta tossed a seven-inning shutout in Game 1 of Triple-A Norfolk’s doubleheader against Durham. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out six. Arrieta threw 82 pitches, 53 for strikes.

Was Arrieta trying to make a point about being included among the September call-ups?

Wilson Betemit is starting at first base at Double-A Bowie. He struck out in his first at-bat.

Randy Wolf isn’t in Baltimore, but I’m told that he will throw on Thursday at Camden Yards. The Orioles must get him on the 25-man roster by Friday if he’s going to be included on the postseason roster.

Yes, we’re talking playoffs.

Update: Saunders gave up another run in the fourth inning, and the White Sox lead, 5-0.

Matt Wieters dropped a pop up behind home plate that would have produced the second out with Ramirez on first base. Ramirez took second on Flowers’ grounder and scored on No. 9 hitter Gordon Beckham’s double.

Saunders had thrown 73 pitches in four innings.

Wieters has 10 errors, double the amount he committed in each of his first three seasons.

Betemit continues to lead the club with 15.

The Orioles got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Wieters led off with a double, Chris Davis was hit by a Dylan Axelrod pitch, Wieters took third on Mark Reynolds’ fly ball and Omar Quintanilla lifted a sacrifice fly to center field for his 12th RBI.

The Orioles are 27-40 when their opponent scores first.

Reynolds drew his team-leading 57th walk in the second. Wieters is second with 45.

Update II: Saunders left after 5 1/3 innings and 99 pitches. Beckham singled off Kevin Gregg to score both inherited runners.

Saunders is charged with seven runs (six earned) and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings, with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 99 pitches, 62 for strikes.

Gregg had let five of 17 inherited runners score before tonight.

Saunders has permitted 21 runs (20 earned) and 29 hits in his last three starts covering 15 innings.

Tonight’s attendance: 13,098

Update III: Gregg gave up a run in the seventh, and the Orioles’ bats went silent in an 8-1 loss to the White Sox.

Luis Ayala tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Steve Johnson retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out Adam Dunn, retiring Paul Konerko on a broken-bat liner to short and retiring Alex Rios on a bouncer to third.

The Orioles remain 3 1/3 games behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East.

Someone please explain why Chicago manager Robin Ventura removed left-hander Donnie Veal with two outs in the ninth and nobody on base. Pace of the game too fast for him?

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