White Sox, Axelrod turn back Orioles

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BALTIMORE — Dylan Axelrod allowed three hits over 7 1/3 innings, Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez had productive nights with three hits apiece, and the White Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 8-1 on Wednesday.

The Sox, who lost the first two games of their series at Camden Yards, can even the series on Thursday afternoon before they play a key weekend series against the Tigers in Detroit. The Sox (72-57) led the Tigers by two games in the American League Central going into Wednesday.

Axelrod was sent to AA Birmingham after the game but will return to the Sox next week when rosters are expanded. The Sox are expected to bring up veteran infielder Jose Lopez Thursday. Catcher Tyler Flowers is expected to go on a brief paternity leave, so the Sox will bring a catcher up from the minors as well.

Beckham doubled in a run in the fourth, and, after Tyler Flowers bunted Dayan Viciedo and Ramirez to third and second in the sixth, lined a single past drawn-in shortstop J.J. Hardy to drive in the Sox’ sixth and seventh runs.

“It’s all about me figuring it out, figuring out what to do to help us win games right now,” Beckham said. “Now it’s crunch time.”

After Alex Rios drove in two runs with a double against new Orioles starter Joe Saunders in the first, Ramirez drove in two more with the first of his three singles. Ramirez’s 60 RBI are tied with cleanup man Paul Konerko.

The four-spot in the top of the first gave Sox starter Dylan Axelrod a comfortable lead to work with, and the recent AAA callup did not disappoint. Axelrod allowed one run on three hits over 7 1/3 innings. He walked four and struck out five.

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