The Orioles did something very unusual Sunday afternoon. They batted around in the first inning and scored five runs off Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito.
Then they did something equally unusual in this very unusual season. They made those runs stand up and tacked on a few more on the way to an 8-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox that averted a three-game sweep at Camden Yards.
More importantly, albeit only temporarily, the Orioles averted a Baltimore franchise record-tying 107th loss of the season.
Of course, with 13 regular-season games remaining, they are all but certain to surpass that dubious mark set by the O’s team that opened the 1988 season with 21 straight losses.
It just wasn’t going to happen Sunday, because the White Sox couldn’t seem to figure out what to do with the baseball on a couple of key plays and the Orioles hitters passed the baton from the top of the lineup to the bottom.
Cedric Mullins led off the inning with the first of his career-high four hits and Joey Rickard reached first on a fielder’s choice when former O’s catcher Welington Castillo picked up his sacrifice bunt attempt and hesitated too long before trying to throw behind Mullins at second base.
Jonathan Villar, who had three hits in the game, followed with an RBI single and Adam Jones did the same. The third run crossed on another fruitless fielder’s choice when Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada picked up a ground ball off the bat of DJ Stewart and made an ill-advised attempt to throw out Villar at the plate.
The White Sox also made a run-scoring error in the inning, so Giolito was charged with only three earned runs.
Orioles rookie David Hess took the mound with a big lead and struggled through 4 1/3 innings. He allowed a long home run to right fielder Daniel Palka leading off the second inning and gave up homers to Yolmer Sânchez and Palka in the fifth before giving way to rookie reliever Ryan Meisinger.
“It was a little bit of a grind out there today,’’ Hess said. “I really had to work and the pitch count was up there and I didn’t get to go as deep as I’d like. I made a couple mistakes that they didn’t miss. I went back and watched the video and for the most part, other than that, it was a good outing. Definitely something to learn from.
“The biggest thing is our team got a win.”
Hess allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and struck out seven, but needed 104 pitches to get 13 outs. Meisinger would benefit from his inefficiency, getting credit for his first major league victory for getting just the last two outs of the fifth inning.
Rookie Paul Fry, the fifth Orioles pitcher, would close out the game with 1 2/3 scoreless innings and be rewarded with his first major league save.
“I wish David could have gotten through five innings,’’ manager Buck Showalter said, “but hopefully a lesson learned. That’s another environment that pitcher sometimes has to pitch in. … I thought he had pretty good stuff, but his command got away from him. Just way too many balls compared to strikes.”
By the time Hess left, Villar had added a run to the Orioles’ lead with a mammoth home run to right field that landed on Eutaw Street — the 98th Eutaw shot since the ballpark opened in 1992 and the 43rd by an Oriole. It was the third by an Oriole this season and two of those belong to Villar.
Adam Jones also tacked on a run in the seventh with his 15th homer of the season and got a very loud ovation from the announced crowd of 19,104.
Mullins had the last word, driving home the Orioles’ eighth run with his fourth hit of the game, a ground single through the left side of the infield.