BALTIMORE — Chris Davis’s ninth-inning heroics Monday night masked the reality of just how bad the Orioles had been with runners in scoring position in that game.
Their offense wasn’t afforded a similar bailout — although it came close — in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Despite having ample opportunities to score, the Orioles were hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position against White Sox left-handed starter Jose Quintana and 1 for 9 overall.
Coupled with Monday’s game, the Orioles were 3 for 20 with runners in scoring position and left 17 men on base in two games.
That’s a tough recipe for success, even with the club’s pitching keeping things close.
For a few moments in the ninth, it looked like the Orioles might mount a second consecutive comeback. Davis led off the ninth against lefty Scott Downs and hit a single to right that bounced off the glove of second baseman Gordon Beckham, who was playing in the outfield as part of a shift on Davis.
The White Sox then brought in closer Ronald Belisario, who gave up Davis’s three-run walk-off homer Monday. Belisario got J.J. Hardy to hit a comebacker for a fielder’s choice. Manny Machado followed with a base hit and pinch hitter Delmon Young singled to score Hardy.
Orioles Manager Buck Showalter then decided to pinch-hit Ryan Flaherty, who entered the game batting .216, for Caleb Joseph, who was hitting .171.
With the tying run at first base, Belisario induced a double-play ball by Flaherty to pick up his eighth save of the season.
A fitting end to a night in which neither team could muster big hits.
Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez (4-5) was shaky in nearly every inning he threw, but he didn’t allow more than one run in any frame.
The White Sox to get on the board in the first when Beckham smacked a 91-mph sinker into the left field stands for a 1-0 lead on Gonzalez’s 11th pitch of the game. It was just the fourth run allowed in the first inning this season by the Orioles right-hander.
Making his second start since coming off the disabled list with an oblique strain, Gonzalez allowed a second run in the second inning on a RBI single by Alejandro De Aza that scored Alexei Ramirez.
The White Sox nearly scored another run in the inning when De Aza raced home from third on a delayed, double steal with Adam Eaton, who went from first to second.
Joseph, the Orioles’ catcher, threw to second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who alertly threw back to Joseph to easily nab a sliding De Aza.
After a five-pitch third inning, Gonzalez ran into more trouble in the fourth, allowing three consecutive two-out singles, the last by Tyler Flowers that made it 3-0 Chicago.
In the fifth, Gonzalez loaded the bases with no outs, but got a pop-up and double play to escape further damage and end his outing. He allowed nine hits and three walks in just five innings, but left with the Orioles trailing by just three runs.
T.J. McFarland entered and threw two scoreless innings. In seven appearances since June 4, McFarland has allowed just one run over a span of 142 / 3 innings (0.61 ERA).
Chicago added its final run in the eighth when Alexei Ramirez singled against Tommy Hunter, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball by Joseph and then scored when Joseph missed the tag on a force out at home plate.
The Orioles got one run back in the sixth when the scorching Steve Pearce homered on the first pitch of the inning against Quintana. Pearce had already extended his seven-game hitting streak in the third with a single. In those seven games, Pearce is 13 for 27 (.482 average) with three homers, eight RBI and six multi-hit contests.
Quintana (4-7) lasted seven innings, allowing one run on six hits and three walks while striking out eight. Loser of his last three decisions, Tuesday was Quintana’s first win since May 26.
— Baltimore Sun