Hardy’s bat was hearty, but Orioles still lose against Chicago

Well, at least the Orioles got their shortstop back tonight.

On a night they rallied from 4-0 down to take the lead, the Orioles still lost, 7-6 against Chicago and they fall to 1-3 on this 10-game homestand.

After missing three games with a sore left ankle, J.J. Hardy returned with a big game tonight. He went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and two doubles.

He tied his season high with four RBIs. He also drove in four on May 15 against Tampa and July 26 versus Toronto.

Before the game, Hardy remarked that he had not hit well on the recent road trip before missing the Toronto series due to the ankle injury. He went 8-for-42 on that trip, but five of the eight hits were home runs.

Tonight he hit number 20, becoming the first O’s shortstop with 20 since Miguel Tejada in 2006. He become the third Orioles shortstop to have a 20-homer season as Cal Ripken Jr. also is in that group.

Believe it or not, Hardy had just three hits over his last seven games before tonight. In this game, he had three extra-base hits.

Maybe it was not a coincidence that over the last three games, without Hardy, the Orioles were held to five hits or fewer each game.

Hardy returned, but so did the losing tonight as the Orioles fell for the fifth time in six games and for the 16th time in 24 games in the second half.

The Orioles are 14-37 since June 11.

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