CHICAGO - The first inning tonight presented Adam Jones with another opportunity to drive in a run.
Naturally, he took advantage of it.
Jones singled with one out to score Steve Pearce and give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
Twenty-four of Jones’ 76 RBIs this season have come in the first inning, along with 11 of his 23 home runs.
Pearce got on base with his fourth double in the last three games. He’s 6-for-11 in that span, including a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored.
The Orioles worked White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana for 20 pitches, with Delmon Young extending the inning with a two-out single to right field. Sixteen of those pitches were strikes.
Jones is 6-for-10 with two home runs and four RBIs against Quintana.
White Sox rookie Jose Abreu faced Chris Tillman for the first time in the bottom of the first and hit his 32nd home run to tie the game.
Abreu, Nelson Cruz and Giancarlo Stanton are tied for the major league lead in home runs.
Manager Buck Showalter admitted that he watched the replay of Nick Markakis’ sensational catch last night once or twice following the game.
“I like to watch stuff like that kind of privately, and then take it in and then let it go and move on,” Showalter said.
Last night pretty much illustrated everything that Markakis represents to this ballclub. Two hits off tough left-hander Chris Sale, a home run, a game-saving catch.
If Markakis had his way, it would all be done without any attention or fanfare.
“I think Nicky almost finds it embarrassing in some ways,” Showalter said.
“I like watching off ball after something happens. I like watching Bud (Norris’) reaction, I like watching Adam running off the field with him. There’s such a respect for Nick and what he does among his teammates, and quite frankly, the opposition. That’s why I get a little sideways when somebody starts taking his goodness and trying to make him pay a price for it. We all know what I’m talking about. That’s how you get your wrist broken and it flies pretty deep in me.
“When he caught the ball, he just wanted to get off the field. But he couldn’t help it last night. He stuck out like a sore thumb too much.
“He doesn’t have any ego about him. What’s he got, 11 or 12 home runs? Nobody even looks at it. He’s a guy who, we don’t spend a lot of time looking at his numbers. His substance is so much his style. One thing I liked was the fact that if some people don’t get him ... Last night, there weren’t a whole lot of games being played and everybody kind of went, ‘Wow, this guy’s pretty good.’ Well, no (kidding).”
Markakis brought a 10-game hitting streak into tonight’s game. He needs 52 more hits to tie Boog Powell for fifth on the club’s all-time list. Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray and Brady Anderson are ahead of them.
I’m still counting.
Showalter hung a list of the names on an office wall after Markakis cracked the top six. It came down mysteriously before someone found it.
“I think he knew where it came from,” Showalter said. “He asked somebody, ‘Who put it up there? How did that get up there?’ It got back up there. He probably took it down.”
The attention is coming, whether he likes it or not.
“We all try to do as good a job as possible,” Showalter said. “You like when you get something that not everybody gets. I go, wow, they’ve got this right in front of them and some people don’t even realize what they’re watching.
“Every time he does something, he acts like, ‘This is what I’m supposed to do, right? I’ve done this before and by the grace of God I get to do it again. This is our job description, right?’”
Markakis ranks 29th on the list of players with the most hits who never made an All-Star team, according to STATS:
Juan Pierre 2,217
Orlando Cabrera 2,055
Tony Phillips 2,023
Todd Zeile 2,004
Joe Kuhel 1,952
Jose Cardenal 1,913
Garry Maddox 1,802
Mark Kotsay 1,784
Eric Karros 1,724
Dave Philley 1,700
Aubrey Huff 1,699
Jim Gantner 1,696
Richie Hebner 1,694
Tim Salmon 1,674
Shannon Stewart 1,653
Bill Bruton 1,651
Enos Cabell 1,647
Mark McLemore 1,602
Dave Martinez 1,599
Bill Virdon 1,596
Jose Guillen 1,591
Aurelio Rodriguez 1,570
Bob Bailey 1,564
Hal Trosky 1,561
Kirk Gibson 1,553
Delino DeShields 1,548
Cesar Tovar 1,546
Joe Randa 1,543
Nick Markakis 1,522
Tim Foli 1,515
J.T. Snow 1,509
Update: The Orioles scored three runs with two outs in the top of the sixth to lead 4-1.
Jones doubled with one out and scored on Delmon Young’s single. J.J. Hardy singled and Chris Davis followed with a two-run double, giving him 60 RBIs this season.
Tillman has retired 10 of the last 11 batters.
Update II: The White Sox’s attrocious bullpen strikes again.
Nick Hundley homers on Daniel Webb’s first pitch to give the Orioles a 5-1 lead in the seventh. Hundley’s third home run traveled an estimated 368 feet.
The Orioles are 60-25 when they hit a home run.
Update III: Game over. The Orioles move a season-high 20 games above .500 with a 5-1 victory over the White Sox.
The Yankees and Blue Jays lost. The Orioles lead New York by 8 1/2 games and Toronto by nine in the American League East.
Tillman allowed one run and three hits in eight innings, with one walk, nine strikeouts and a home run. He threw 105 pitches before Tommy Hunter replaced him in the ninth.
Tillman has permitted two earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts. He’s worked eight innings or more in five starts this season.
Tillman has 12 quality starts in last 14 outings since the one-inning debacle in Texas on June 4.
The Orioles have allowed three hits or fewer in three straight games to tie the club road record set in July 1992 in Texas. The overall record is four in a row set on Sept. 2-6, 1974.