The Orioles were one out away from a doubleheader sweep Wednesday night when Yonder Alonso's bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Chicago White Sox a 7-6 win in the second game at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Considering the Orioles’ early misplays and faulty situational hitting throughout Wednesday’s games, a sweep seemed unlikely. But they were left with a mix of frustration at not snatching a second win and pride that they even got the one.
“Doubleheaders are tough to win both games, and when you have an opportunity to win, it would be great,” manager Brandon Hyde said. ‘But we just didn't take care of the ball defensively today, and tonight. That kind of hurt us.”
“I think we played tough. It was a chilly day, long doubleheader, and I think we battled for 18 innings,” infielder Stevie Wilkerson said. “We got the win in the first one. Came up a little short in the second one. I think we battled.”
Unlike the first half of Wednesday's doubleheader, when the Orioles came from behind and overcame a sloppy start for a 5-4 win, there was no Mychal Givens waiting to shut the door at the end of the game.
Instead, with the Orioles up 6-5 in the ninth, Hyde sent Evan Phillips back out after he struck out two in the eighth. Phillips issued a walk, then allowed an infield single as first baseman Chris Davis got turned around before making a late throw to first. Paul Fry came in to get Yoán Moncada to ground out.
That brought Miguel Castro on for pinch-hitter José Rondón with the tying run at third base and the winning run at second. Rondón struck out, the Orioles intentionally walked José Abreu and Castro allowed the single that ended it.
“When you're dealing with their middle part of the order, and there are certain guys you don't want to beat you — José Abreu is a premier player in this league and has been killing us — I was trying to get a punchout from Rondón, which we did, and then take our chances with Alonso,” Hyde said. “It didn't happen.”
The Orioles had already overcome some poor play to win on the first day of May. They came agonizingly close to doing it again. That early 5-4 win took care of the fear of an 0-6 road trip after being swept in Minnesota and losing the first game here Monday, and the second game Wednesday had plenty to indicate the Orioles wouldn't be stringing together consecutive wins.
Even as Dwight Smith Jr. singled to score Jonathan Villar in the first inning, the Orioles' lead was erased on a bizarre play when, with two strikes and two outs in the second and a runner on first, catcher Austin Wynns blocked strike three in the dirt and decided to throw to second base to get the lead runner for the final out of the inning.
The only problem was no one was covering the base, so the ball went into center field, and the run scored on batter later. Abreu homered off Andrew Cashner to put the Orioles down in the third inning, only for Wilkerson to reverse that deficit with a three-run home run.
Cashner then loaded the bases with two outs and improbably had all three runs score on a single — just the second time that's happened in the majors this season.
“Any time you get a three-run lead like that, you can't give it up,” Cashner said.
But a sixth-inning home run by Anthony Santander — who was added as the 26th player ahead of the game and sent back to Triple-A Norfolk after it — and an aggressive but legal slide to break up a double play at second base by Smith allowed the go-ahead run to score in the seventh. The Orioles took the lead during three stellar innings of relief from Gabriel Ynoa, who struck out five while allowing one hit and no runs before handing the ball off to Phillips.
Cashner strikes out eight
Between errors that extended innings and hits that found grass when they otherwise might not have, Cashner worked through some extended innings Wednesday. Of his 99 pitches, 62 were with two outs. He struck out eight White Sox, though, the most he's struck out since joining the Orioles ahead of the 2018 season and most he’s had since September 2016 with the Miami Marlins.
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“I thought I had really good stuff, some of the better stuff I felt like I had in a while,” Cashner said. “The depth in my breaking ball I thought was really good.”