BALTIMORE — Manager Robin Ventura tried to downplay the White Sox’ remarkable April, which ended with an extraordinary 8-7 victory Saturday over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
The win gave the Sox 17 victories against eight losses in the opening month, tying a franchise record held by the 2005 World Series champion team and the 2006 unit the following year.
“You don’t get caught up in that too much,’’ Ventura said. “This group is old enough that they just play day by day and eventually you get to where you can look back…. don’t get caught up too much in trying to pat yourself on the back.
“They’re looking for Sunday.’’
Chris Sale opens the month of May in the series finale Sunday afternoon as the Sox, who lost the first two games of a four-game set here, go for a split before returning home. Looking at Saturday night would make your head spin, as the Sox played a sloppy defensive game for the second straight night but scored five times from the seventh inning on to steal a victory. The most costly error, by first baseman Jose Abreu, was made up for when Abreu punched the go-ahead single to right field in the ninth inning.
After the Orioles’ two-run eighth tied the game with unearned runs on his plate, Abreu scored Adam Eaton from second in the ninth with his second straight hit. Eaton had reached on bunt single after Orioles lefty closer Zach Britton struck out the first two hitters of the inning.
“In my head I was going to bunt off him three times if that’s what it took Eaton said. “I said to [catcher] Matt Wieters, ‘are you going to wish me luck?’ This guy is filthy.”
The Sox got some luck when Britton injured an ankle fielding Eaton’s bunt and had to leave the game. He was replaced by Vance Worley.
“I don’t know what it is, but I guess it’s because of all the energy and good vibes we have right now,’’ Abreu said through a translator. “Working hard every day and rooting for each other to win the games. It doesn’t matter if we’re behind late in the games because we have confidence in ourselves that we can go back and win games.’’
Abreu was down on himself for his error after third baseman Todd Frazier made a nice play on what should have been the third out of the eighth. “I thank God for the opportunity’’ to make amends, he said.
Nate Jones got the final four outs for the Sox, who were without closer David Robertson who was on bereavement leave due to the death of his father-in-law.
Abreu also singled in the tying run in the eighth, knocking in pinch hitter Carlos Sanchez (leadoff double) and Todd Frazier followed with a two-run homer to center against Orioles right-hander Darren O’Day to help the Sox come from behind and take a 7-5 lead.
“I finally got the fastball and drove it out of the park,’’ Frazier said. “It was a great day for the team. I have to give all the credit to the guys who found a way to get on base, either get a walk or double. Sanchez came in and did his job. It’s just a good character builder here, a good win for us.”
The Sox trailed 5-3 in the sixth inning on Adam Jones’ RBI double. They got to within one when Brett Lawrie walked, stole second and scored on a close play at home on Austin Jackson’s two-out, two-strike single to right, Jackson’s first hit of the series.
Ventura was ejected in the third inning by umpire crew chief Gerry Davis after he challenged the Orioles’ Machado had violated the slide rule at second base. A favorable ruling would have given the Sox their second triple play of the season.
“It was an illegal slide,” Ventura said.
Brett Lawrie hit his second homer in two nights, against O’s right-hander Kevin Gausman in the fourth inning. Sox right-hander Mat Latos allowed four runs on 11 hits including two homers over five innings, his shortest outing of the season. His ERA climbed to 1.84.
NOTES: Matt Albers’ 30-game scoreless streak came to an end after he allowed two earned runs.
*Frazier is batting .318 with a double, five homers, 11 RBI over his last 12 games.
*Of Brett Lawrie’s nine hits in his last 10 games, six have been for extra bases.
*Adam Eaton recorded his sixth outfield assist after a 9-2-6 putout in the first inning. He leads the majors in outfield assists.
*The Sox scored five runs from the seventh inning on. Their 49 runs scored from the seventh on leads the majors.