BALTIMORE — Eloy Jimenez hit a home run in the first inning. Andrew Vaughn had a pinch RBI single with two outs in the seventh.
Everything else about the White Sox’ offense, or lack of it, in a 5-3 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday was maddening for a team desperate to score runs in bunches and frantically looking to string wins together and stay in contention in the American League Central.
Jimenez’s two-run homer to right-center against Austin Voth, his first long ball in 16 games, looked like the perfect start to the three-game series with Sox ace Dylan Cease pitching. But Cease gave up a bunt single to Cedric Mullins and a walk and hung a slider to Ryan Mountcastle in the Orioles’ first, and the Sox never led again, wasting repeated scoring chances by leaving 13 runners on base and going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
The Sox have lost five of their last six games.
Jimenez exited after taking a 102 mph fastball from closer Felix Bautista off his left elbow pad in the eighth — X-rays were negative, and he’s day-to-day with a bruise — loading the bases for Jose Abreu, but Abreu struck out on a full count against a 100 mph fastball above the strike zone. Abreu is 0-for-8 with the bases loaded with four strikeouts.
It was that kind of night. It has been that kind of year.
“Kept producing situations,” said manager Tony La Russa, whose team out-hit the Orioles 11-5. “But we’ve got to finish them, right? Everybody’s frustrated. Get the guys on base like that, and you can’t get them home.”
Luis Robert had two doubles and a single, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Robert and Seby Zavala both doubled near the new deep part of Oriole Park near the 398-foot sign in left-center.
“It’s not as easy as saying we want to win and the wins are going to be there,” Robert said. “No, you have to go out there and do your job and perform. You have to do it on the field, and the other team is trying to win games, too. It’s a battle.”
The Sox (62-61) are 14-26 in the first game of a series and are 1-4 against the Orioles (64-58). The Sox dropped to 3œ games behind the AL Central-leading Guardians as they played the Padres in a late game in San Diego.
Cease (12-6, 2.27 ERA), pitching on six days of rest and possibly showing rust from the long layoff caused by Sunday’s rainout in Cleveland and the decision to keep Michael Kopech in rotation Monday, threw 27 pitches in the first inning and only 13 were strikes.
“It wasn’t good,” Cease said. “Poor command, didn’t get ahead of guys and didn’t pitch well.”
As for the extra rest, Cease said, “I mean, I would just say I didn’t have it.”
Cease went 5„ innings on 93 pitches, allowing four runs.
This and that
The postponed game Sunday against the Guardians in Cleveland has been rescheduled for Sept. 15 at 12:10 p.m.
† Leury Garcia, on the injured list with back and hip soreness, is working at full speed, he said, and expects to be activated when he’s eligible Saturday.
† Yasmani Grandal (knee) is walking around at a brisk pace and doing some baseball activities and “should be ready” when he’s eligible to come off the IL next Wednesday.