When this series began, the Chicago White Sox had scored four runs or less for nine straight games. But by the fifth inning tonight, they had hit two homers and scored seven times.
Chicago went on to beat the Orioles 8-6, holding off a late Baltimore comeback in the opener of a three-game series at Oriole Park. Both teams ended long losing streaks in their previous games, but Chicago emerges as the team with two straight wins after tonight’s contest.
The Orioles snapped a six-game losing streak last night in beating Oakland. But they fall to 42-105 with tonight’s defeat. They’ve lost seven of eight and 11 of the last 13 games.
O’s right-hander Luis Ortiz had a difficult first major league start, one that ended with him leaving the game with an apparent injury. Ortiz got just five outs and gave up three runs (one earned) and four hits in 1 2/3 innings. He had allowed three runs in 2/3 of an inning last Friday against Tampa Bay in his major league debut.
Tonight, he walked off with athletic trainer Mark Shires after issuing a second-inning walk. But it the was the batter before that when he may have suffered an injury. He was late covering first on an infield RBI single by Yoán Moncada to first base and Ortiz and Chris Davis nearly collided near the bag. Two batters earlier, an RBI triple by former O’s minor leaguer Nicky Delmonico gave Chicago a 2-0 lead. In the first, Moncada began the game with a double and scored on a two-out single by Daniel Palka.
It didn’t get better after Ortiz left. Omar Narváez hit a two-run homer off Jimmy Yacabonis in the third and Avisaíl García hit a two-run shot off the O’s righty in the fifth for a 7-2 lead.
Orioles designated hitter Trey Mancini hit a pair homers tonight for his fifth career multi-homer game and first of 2018. He hit his 22nd homer in the second inning on a 3-2 pitch from James Shields to make it a 3-1 game. He hit his 23rd in the fourth to make it 5-2. His last multi-homer game was Aug. 10, 2017 at Oakland. Mancini is now one homer behind Manny Machado, who still holds the team lead.
Down 7-2 and seemingly headed for a five-run defeat, the Orioles offense got stirring in the seventh with some help. They scored four runs on three hits, two walks and a costly error. Corban Joseph’s pinch-hit bases-loaded two-run single on a 3-2 pitch made it a 7-4 game. Second baseman Moncada booted a possible double play ball with Cedric Mullins batting, scoring a run to make it 7-5. With the bases loaded, Adam Jones drove one to the wall in right for a sac fly that made it 7-6. But right-hander Ian Hamilton fanned Mancini with runners on second and third to end that threat.
Moments later, No. 9 hitter Ryan Cordell homered for Chicago off reliever Tanner Scott for a key insurance run and an 8-6 White Sox lead. Mancini’s two-homer game and the late rally tonight were not enough to overcome Chicago’s breakout game on offense.
Ortiz on the play where he suffered a hamstring injury: “Just running down to first base and felt like it grabbed my hammy. Didn’t feel good at all. It was hurting after that so strained my hammie a little bit. This is something I dealt with earlier this year over with (Double-A) Biloxi. I pulled the same hamstring running. This is nothing similar to that one. I feel this one is a little better than that was. Feel like I’ll be ready to go soon. But it’s up to the medical staff, how I feel and how they feel.”
On his outing before the injury: “I felt like I was locked in and ready to go. Felt like I was making some pitches, but making some mistakes at the same time. But it was fun.”
Ortiz on having his first major league start cut short by an injury: “To cut short is not what everyone wants and it sucks. Especially going down on an injury. Prepared for this day and all I get was an injury. So not really good.”
Mancini on the rash of starting pitching injuries lately: “You just have to keep going out and playing, but it’s tough. Having three of our starters go down. It’s nice that the roster is expanded, but you know, the rotation, I guess, is kind of in question. It’s tough. It was unfortunate (for Ortiz) and I know he was excited to make his first major league start. It stinks it got cut short like that.”
Mancini wants to finish the season strong at the plate: “We want to go out there every day and do well for the team first. And on a personal level, you always want to get results that you work hard for. So, yeah, we will keep doing that. We have 15 games left and hopefully we keep putting good at-bats together.”