Afternoon baseball: O's at Chicago

Game Preview Orioles (40-49) at Chicago White Sox (46-43) It was a night where the O's pitching staff struggled to throw strikes vs. a hot-hitting team. That was not a good combination for the Birds as they lost 12-8 at Chicago to start the second half on Friday night. The O's pitchers allowed seven walks, three homers including a Grand Slam and 13 hits. It was the most runs the Orioles gave up since a 12-1 loss at Boston on April 20th. The Birds team ERA in the previous six games was 2.73. Today, at 4:05 p.m. in game two of this series, Brad Bergesen (6-3, 3.54) pitches for the O's vs. Mark Buehrle (9-3, 3.66). Jim Thome hit a three-run homer and his ninth Grand Slam for a 7 RBI night. Thome, who is batting .351 over his last ten games, has 14 RBI over his last three games. Thome has 557 career homers. That is 13th best all-time. Thome's 7 RBI outburst was a career high. He previously had four 6 RBI games. He came up with his 43rd career multi-homer game. The White Sox offense has been on a real tear lately. Over the last 19 games, Chicago has a team batting average of .314 with 44 doubles and 31 homers. They are scoring 6.7 runs per game in that time and are 13-6 in those 19 games. The Sox have lost three of five games, allowing 44 runs. Chicago is 23-21 at home, 7-5 in July and 6-9 vs. the AL East. The O's had a season-high eight extra-base hits in Friday's game with six doubles, another season best and two homers. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis had each gone 24 games without a homer until connecting Friday. The O's need a win today to avoid losing this series. They have not lost a road series vs. an AL Central team since April 30 - May 2, 2007 when they were swept by Detroit. They are 18-12 in road games vs. that division since that date. Despite Friday's loss, the Birds have won four of six games and, over a longer stretch, are 15-13 over the last 28 games. But the Birds continue with the AL's worst road record, now 14-28 after last night. Today the O's play game two of a nine-game, ten-day road trip that will later take them to New York and Boston. O's hitters, this year vs. CWS: Andino: 0-0 Huff: 7-18/2/5 Izturis: 4-14/0/4 Jones: 3-14/1/3 Markakis: 9-17/1/5, six runs, 4 doubles Mora: 3-4/0/0 Pie: 2-7/0/0 Reimold: 2-4/0/0 Roberts: 4-15/0/0 Scott: 5-15/1/4 Wieters: 0-5/0/0 Wigginton: 3-13/0/2 Zaun: 1-7/0/0

In the minors tonight
Today's pitchers: Bergesen vs. Buehrle

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