After dominating pitching performances the first two games and a walkoff win Saturday Night, the Baltimore Orioles were in prime position to pull off the rare four game sweep against the Chicago White Sox, but Baltimore squandered several opportunities and fell the the Sox 4-2.
The O's attempted another late inning comeback, but it was not meant to be. Trailing 4-1, Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs, but a Ryan Flaherty fielder's choice and a Brian Roberts foul out, combined with Chris Dickerson getting doubled up due to attempting to steam second, ended the threat and Baltimore fell 4-2.
Perhaps the real story over the entire four game series was the Orioles inability to take advantage of opportunities with runners in scoring position. Over the past month or so, Baltimore has struggled with runners in scoring position and Sunday was no different, as they went 0-11 in those situations. Despite winning three of four in the series, the Orioles went an abysmal 3-37 with runners in scoring position over the four game set. Although it worked out this series, Baltimore will have to be better in these situations if they want to make the playoffs.
Adam Jones contributed his 31st home run of the season, a solo homer in the fifth that made the score 2-1.
Orioles starting pitched Bud Norris (10-11) had one of his worse outings for the Birds as he struggled mightily Sunday afternoon. Norris never really got things in rhythm and failed to get out of the fifth inning. He wound up tossing 4 1/3 innings, while allowing four runs on nine hits, one walk and six strikeouts and needing 100 pitches to get through the 4 1/3 innings.
We also saw the return of Jason Hammel, as he came on in relief for the Birds. Hammel looked pretty good as he tossed two scoreless innings, while allowing just one hit, one walk and one strikeout.
Although the Orioles lost a game in the standings, it was still a very successful four game series as the O's took three of four and reduced their deficit in the race for the second AL Wildcard spot down to just two games. Baltimore begins a HUGE four game series tonight against the New York Yankees and look to increase the half game lead they have over the Yankees. The Orioles will send Chris Tillman (15-5) to the mound against Yankees ace CC Sabathia (13-11).
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