If Chicago's Lamar Johnson could face Baltimore Oriole pitching every day, he probably would be assured a place in baseball's Hall Of Fame.
The big first baseman had four hits in five at-bats today, including a home run and two RBI in a seven-run sixth inning to lead the White Sox to an 8-2 thrashing of the Orioles, the Birds' second loss in their first three games.
While Johnson took care of the offense, 21-year-old rookie right-hander Richard Dotson held the defending American League Champions in check, allowing two runs on five scattered hits and striking out seven.
Baltimore scored both runs with two out in the ninth inning on Doug DeCinces' two-run double into the left field corner. Before the last inning, Dotson had retired 22 of 25 Orioles with an effective fast ball and changeup.
"I didn't want to give up any runs," Dotson said, "but in the ninth inning I got too emotional and started just throwing instead of pitching. But other than getting behind every time on (Al) Bumbry, I felt I had pretty good stuff today."
Losing pitcher Steve Stone, formerly of the White Sox, had decent stuff for the first five innings, allowing one run on four hits. That was before Johnson (.378 lifetime batting average against the Orioles) came to the plate to head off the bottom of the sixth. He homered to left -- his second home run of the series -- to start the seven run rally. After Stone gave up a single to Chet Lemon, Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver brought in Tippy Martinez, who walked three, gave up three hits and threw one wild pitch before giving way to Joe Kerrigan.
Johnson added a checked-swing opposite field single in that sixth inning as 12 White Sox batted.
"The Lord must have blessed me today," said a smiling Johnson. "On that single in the sixth, I just closed my eyes, swung, looked up and the ball was landing in right field.
"I know I have a psychological edge on the Baltimore pitchers because they look at the stats on how well I've done against their club's pitching," added Johnson, who has seven hits in 11 at-bats in the first three games of this season-opening series.
Stone, who lost his first game since July 6 of last season after five straight wins, wasn't surprised at Johnson's success. "Lamar's an established major league hitter," Stone said. "He's never had any problems hitting the ball and in addition, he's hot now. That was a forkball he hit for the home run."
The Oriole loss, in front of more than 15,000 fans on Teachers' Day at Comiskey Park, marked the first time the team has been below .500 since April 22 of last year.