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Orioles walk off with 4th straight win

Adam Jones was furious.

He got the exact pitch that he wanted from Chicago White Sox reliever Tony Pena with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game in the eighth inning. He took a hearty cut and all he mustered was a weak pop-up that died in Dayan Viciedo's glove in front of third base.

The at-bat was still on Jones' mind when he stepped up to the plate in the 10th inning, against the same pitcher, and this time with men on the corners and two outs. Continuing the theme that started when manager Buck Showalter took over Tuesday, Jones found a way, hitting a single through the hole and into left field and scoring Nick Markakis from third to give the Orioles a 2-1 victory in front of an announced 19,687 on Friday night at Camden Yards.

"Redemption," Jones said. "That's what I based the at-bat on. He got away with one, be he didn't get away with it twice."

How about "revival?"

The Orioles are now 4-0 under Showalter, who watched his new club play another quality all-around game against one of the hottest teams in baseball. Right-hander Brad Bergesen had a second straight strong start, allowing just one run on Gordon Beckham's solo homer in the third inning over seven innings. It was the fourth straight quality start for a rotation that hasn't accomplished that feat since May 29-June 1 of last season.

Reliever Koji Uehara and Alfredo Simon pitched three scoreless innings in relief, with Simon striking out Juan Pierre with Beckham on second to keep the score tied headed into the bottom of the 10th.

And the much-maligned defense even came through in the seventh when first baseman Ty Wigginton made a bare-handed pickup of Alexei Ramirez's dribbler and threw to catcher Matt Wieters, who blocked Mark Kotsay off the plate and then made the tag for the second out. Markakis then made a running catch on A.J. Pierzynski's drive to the right-field wall to end the inning and keep the score tied at 1.

It stayed that way until Jones, who is hitting just .236 with runners in scoring position this season, directed Pena's 2-1 fastball into left field.

"Baseball is a great exposing of strengths and weaknesses," Showalter said. "That ball will find you and the situation will find you, and you get another opportunity. As much as it breaks your heart, you get another opportunity. And I felt good for him."

The Orioles (36-73) poured out of the dugout and mobbed Jones at first base a night after they did the same to Cesar Izturis, whose single in the ninth inning gave the home team a series sweep over the Los Angeles Angels.

"It's always fun when you are winning," said Markakis, who had a season-high four hits Friday. "When you're losing, it's not fun at all. It was a good game on both sides, and we pulled it out. That's the way we like to end it."

Markakis had started the 10th inning rally with a one-out single to right field off Pena. After Ty Wigginton made the second out, Luke Scott lined a single into center and Markakis made it to third without a throw. "I was going all the way," Markakis said. "I saw the ball wasn't hit right at him and he was going away from where I was going. You have to give it a shot, and it worked out."

Markakis, however, was quick to deflect credit to Bergesen and the Orioles' pitching. In four games since Showalter took over, Oriole starters have a 2.28 ERA and have logged 27 2/3 innings.

On Friday night, Bergesen, whose spot in the rotation was in jeopardy a couple of weeks ago, allowed just five hits and walked one while striking out five in seven innings. In his past two starts, he has surrendered just three earned runs, 10 hits and two walks over 14 innings. This comes after a stretch during which the second-year pitcher allowed four runs or more eight times over nine starts.

"Any time there is a managerial change like we had, I know for myself, you want to come in here and make a good first impression for the guy," Bergesen said. "Obviously for me, I'm fighting for my job. At times, I almost feel like I'm fighting for my next start. I wanted to really come in tonight and really have a sharp performance."

Bergesen remains winless in 12 straight starts, but he did well to match White Sox lefty John Danks, who gave up an RBI single to Wigginton in the first inning and nothing else over seven innings of a fast-paced pitching duel the Orioles got the best of.

Asked whether he expected to win games like this one, Showalter said: "Of course. I'm going to feel that way anytime. What other way are we supposed to feel? I ain't in on the alternative. That's why you get up in the morning. It's an opportunity. It's an opportunity every day."

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who appeared to get annoyed at Showalter for the extended time he spent on the field arguing that right fielder Carlos Quentin had not caught Felix Pie's liner in the seventh -- and replays clearly showed that he hadn't -- was asked after the game about Showalter's effect on his new club.

"Believe me, managers don't make baseball teams," Guillen said. "They make them play better, but when you pitch the way they pitched against us and the kind of offense they have, you win games."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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