BALTIMORE - Two outs and nobody on base is right where the Orioles want to be these days.
Two days after beating Chicago with a big two-out, none-on rally, Baltimore did it again Thursday afternoon to ensure another series win. The Orioles beat the White Sox 5-3 in front of an announced 10,141 at Camden Yards and scored all five runs with two outs.
Baltimore (72-58) finished its six-game homestand with a 5-1 record and headed north for a big three-game series with New York, trailing the Yankees by three games in the American League East standings while still maintaining one of the AL wild-card spots.
Orioles starter Zach Britton (4-1) fell behind early but responded in a big way - the left-hander gave up five hits through the first nine batters before settling down and retiring 19 of the final 21 he faced.
Britton also set a career high with 10 strikeouts and tossed eight innings with no walks and one run alllowed, although he was optioned to Class-AAA Norfolk following the game to make room for Randy Wolf. The Orioles recently signed Wolf, a veteran left-hander, after he was cut by Milwaukee.
Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson combined to finish off the White Sox (72-58) and Johnson notched his 41st save of the year.
"I felt really good the whole game, even in the second inning," said Britton, who posted his longest outing since May 12, 2011. "I felt like I made some pretty good pitches but was I was just a little up in the zone. I was able to get down in the zone later in the game. I was able to roll some balls over and get strikeouts when we needed them."
Britton also got run support, and the offense came through in clutch fashion Thursday.
The Orioles trailed early but strung together five consecutive extra-base hits with two outs in the third inning to put up a four-spot against young White Sox starter Jose Quintana, who was making his first career start against Baltimore and 17th overall.
It didn't go well for the 23-year-old. Quintana (5-3) allowed five runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings, matching the shortest start of his career.
Adam Jones launched a two-run homer to left, a 422-foot shot, that put Baltimore on top 4-1. It was Jones' 26th home run of the season, a career high.
Taylor Teagarden, the club's back-up catcher who was starting for Matt Wieters, came into the game hitting .086 (3 for 35) but ripped a solo home run and an RBI double to raise his batting average 46 points. Teagarden's homer started Baltimore's two-out scoring surge in the third, and four of his five hits this year have gone for extra bases.
Teagarden's two-out double in the fourth scored Nate McLouth and the Orioles led 5-1.
Chicago made it close in the ninth when Strop surrendered consecutive singles with one out. Orioles manager Buck Showalter went to Johnson, who got one out before Alexei Ramirez singled up the middle and drove in two runs. Johnson ended the game by fanning Gordon Beckham and nailing down Baltimore's eighth win in its last 11 games, with the Yankees coming up next.
"There's a challenge around every corner," Showalter said. "It will be fun. Could be fun if we win."
Britton won't be making the trip, but Showalter said he doesn't expect the pitcher's absence to last very long.
Besides, the Orioles are embarking on a stretch of 13 straight games against divisional foes, including seven with the rival Yanks. Getting starts like the one Britton delivered Thursday will likely be crucial down the stretch.
"If he can go out and give you eight innings with no walks, he's going to be hard to beat," Jones said. "That was the most impressive I've seen him."