BALTIMORE – A 6-0 loss to the Orioles on Chris Sale night was not the shot in the arm the White Sox wanted as a precursor to Sale’s upcoming start against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
The last thing anyone expected from Sale was a four-inning, 75-pitch outing that ended with Philip Humber somewhat surprisingly taking the mound to start the fifth inning.
But that was the scene at Camden Yards on Tuesday night, where the Sox lineup had nothing in the way of support for Sale, anyway. Their only hit against Orioles starter Chris Tillman was an infield nubber by Dayan Viciedo in the fifth inning that shortstop J.J. Hardy tried to barehand to no avail. Had Hardy used his glove, he might have had a shot at Viciedo.
All that really mattered to the Sox (71-57) was their second straight loss to the Orioles (71-57). They’ll need to win Wednesday and Thursday to split a four-game series before they meet the Tigers in an American League Central battle for first place.
Sale’s night started out well enough with four strikeouts of the first six Orioles he faced. But with two out in the second inning, Nate McLouth blooped a single and Sale loaded the bases by walking the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters, Manny Machado and Robert Andino. Nick Markakis then clearned the bases with a double to deep center to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.
After allowing a walk and then getting Matt Wieters to hit into a double play in the third, Sale gave up a home run to Lew Ford to make it 4-0. It was Ford’s second home run in two nights and his second in five years.
In the fourth, Sale gave up two hits without allowing a run. His night was over after 75 pitches (46 for strikes), six hits and three walks allowed and five strikeouts.
The logic in getting Sale out of the game rather than leave him in with the Sox chasing a four-run deficit looked sound while Tillman was mowing down the Sox lineup.