Danny Valencia is in the Orioles lineup again tonight because the Chicago White Sox sent another left-hander to the mound. Just as they did last night. Just as they will do on Saturday.
John Danks retired the first eight Orioles before Valencia stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the third. Danks tried to blow a fastball past Valencia on a 2-2 count, and it landed in the left field seats for a 1-0 lead.
Valencia was batting .333 against left-handers before tonight, .172 against right-handers. He’s a career .319 hitter vs. southpaws, .230 vs. right-handers.
Without seeing Saturday’s lineup, I’ll predict that Valencia is the designated hitter against Chicago lefty Hector Santiago.
The Orioles’ last 15 runs have scored on homers, along with 25 of the last 38. They hit three last night in a 3-1 victory over the White Sox.
Danks still hasn’t gotten a ground ball tonight. Fly balls. Line drives. Pop ups. A strikeout. Everything but a grounder.
The White Sox nearly tied the score against Scott Feldman in the top of the fourth on Paul Konerko’s two-out single to center field, but Adam Jones threw out Jeff Keppinger at the plate for the final out.
Jones has nine outfield assists this season.
The Orioles might have caught a break. The MASN replay showed Keppinger’s hand touching the plate before catcher Matt Wieters applied the tag. At least, that’s how it looked from here.
Feldman is shutting out the White Sox on four hits.
Update: Valencia has driven in both runs tonight, his infield hit with two outs in the fifth expanding the lead to 2-0.
J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis opened with singles. Michael Morse grounded into a 4-3 double play, but Valencia beat out a grounder to third. It was an extremely close play at first. Umpire James Hoye hesitated before making the safe call.
Valencia has 15 RBIs on the season to go with his seven home runs.
Adam Jones is 0-for-2 tonight and 1-for-29 lifetime against Danks. Chris Davis singled in the fourth, making him 1-for-13.
Feldman has allowed no runs and five hits in five innings. He’s now permitted only two runs in his last three starts over 17 innings.
Update II: Davis and Matt Wieters hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the sixth to increase the lead to 4-0 and end Danks’ night.
Davis hadn’t homered since Aug. 28. He’s got 48 this season to go with 123 RBIs.
Wieters has 21 homers and 67 RBIs.
This is the fourth time in 2013 that the Orioles have hit back-to-back homers.
It’s believed that Wieters is the only player in Orioles history with three straight 20-home run seasons as a catcher. It doesn’t count if that player was the DH for a game or playing another position.
Feldman is working on a five-hit shutout as we head to the top of the seventh inning. Chris Dickerson has replaced Michael Morse in left field.
Tonight’s attendance: 26,253