One pitch away from series victory, White Sox are walked off by Orioles
After a dropped foul fly by Adam Engel, the Orioles tied the score on a home run against Liam Hendriks in the ninth and won it in the 11th.
BALTIMORE — White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn pitched as a rookie on manager Tony La Russa’s Cardinals team that won the World Series in 2011.
La Russa was 66 at the time. At 77, he’s still the same as he ever was, Lynn said.
‘‘He’s never changed over the years,’’ Lynn told the Sun-Times this week. ‘‘He’s still as sharp as can be. He’s a Hall of Fame manager who has done a lot of things in this game that no one else has. He’s always going to have the fire to manage and compete.’’
In his first season back from retirement after being hired by close friend Jerry Reinsdorf, La Russa guided the 2021 Sox to 93 victories and the American League Central title. But the Sox were outclassed by the Astros in the AL Division Series and are 103-99 since the All-Star break last season, including a 1-3 record against the Astros in October. They are 63-62 this season and four games behind the Central-leading Guardians after a stunning 4-3 loss to the Orioles in 11 innings Thursday.
With closer Liam Hendriks protecting a one-run lead in the ninth, left fielder Adam Engel, a defensive replacement, dropped a foul fly by Kyle Stowers near the side wall that would have ended the game. Stowers then hit an 0-2 curveball from Hendriks for a tying home run.
The Orioles walked it off in the 11th against Jake Diekman on Anthony Santander’s deep single that scored free runner Cedric Mullins.
‘‘I don’t have a lot to say,’’ La Russa said after one of the toughest losses of the season. ‘‘I’ve got no thoughts beyond losing a game that’s heartbreaking.’’
While he has been a lightning rod for criticism, it’s tough to pin these types of performances entirely on La Russa, who was hired to guide the Sox to a World Series title in their contention window. But La Russa has been criticized for lineup constructions, in-game decisions that include walking two batters intentionally with 1-2 counts and overseeing a team that often seems to lack urgency, gets outhustled, ranks at the bottom of the majors in defense and looks fundamentally challenged at times.
The Sox committed three errors Thursday.
‘‘We’re not doing our job as players,’’ Lynn said.
‘‘My job is to come in and play defense, especially late in games,’’ Engel said. ‘‘I overran it, the ball came back on me a little bit, didn’t catch it.’’
The Sox’ injury train kept rolling, too, with third baseman Yoan Moncada exiting in the fifth with a tight hamstring. He is day-to-day, and center fielder Luis Robert (sore wrist) made numerous one-handed swings but refused to come out.
Lynn did his job, pitching six innings of two-run ball (one earned). Still, he has a 5.00 ERA and 3-5 record after starting the season in June because of knee surgery in April.
After Andrew Vaughn homered to lead off the game, Lynn gave up the lead when first baseman Jose Abreu misplayed a ground ball by Adley Rutschman for an error and Santander homered.
But Lynn allowed only two hits and a walk after that while striking out eight.
‘‘It doesn’t feel good,’’ Lynn said. ‘‘Gave up a home run. We had an early lead, and I gave it right back.’’
The Sox tied the score with an unearned run in the seventh and took the lead on an RBI single by Abreu in the eighth.
Reynaldo Lopez and Jimmy Lambert were perfect getting the ball to Hendriks, whose streak of 19 consecutive saves came crashing down.
‘‘At the end of the day, [Engel’s error] was just a foul ball,’’ Hendriks said. ‘‘I need to make a pitch. I had him exactly where I wanted to and didn’t execute, and that’s on me. That’s not on anybody else.’’