BALTIMORE — A night after Chris Davis' dramatic, pinch-hit, walk-off home run, the Baltimore Orioles had 20,596 at Camden Yards believing they might just do it again when they finally strung together some hits against the Chicago White Sox in the final frame on Tuesday night.
But unlike 24 hours earlier, White Sox closer Ronald Belisario finished it off, getting a double-play grounder on the game's final pitch to preserve a 4-2 win.
It was a fitting ending given that it was the Orioles' fourth double play of the night. They went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
And Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez (4-5) wasn't good enough to win with that kind of support. He gave up three runs in five innings, matching a career-worst with nine hits allowed as he turned in a rare non-quality start during a nearly month-long stretch in which Orioles pitchers have been posting them.
Manager Buck Showalter called Gonzalez's performance "OK."
"Bent but didn't break, kept us in the game, gave us a chance," Showalter said, "but his command was off from what we've come to expect. He fought his way through five innings."
Through eight innings, the Orioles' lone run came from the red-hot Steve Pearce, who went 2 for 3 with a walk and a solo home run in the sixth.
Still, they had a chance in the ninth.
Davis led off the ninth against lefty reliever Scott Downs with a soft single to right. Belisario came in to face J.J. Hardy, who hit into a force play. But Manny Machado lined a single to left to put two on with one out for pinch-hitter Delmon Young.
Young came through with an RBI single to make it 4-2, bringing the fans to their feet as another pinch-hitter, Ryan Flaherty, stepped to the plate representing the winning run.
Flash couldn't channel Crush, however. Flaherty bounced into a game-ending double play.
Jose Quintana (4-7) got the win for his seven strong innings of six-hit, one-run ball.
"We squared up a couple balls early but there wasn't a lot of good contact against him," Showalter said.
The Orioles (40-36) had their three-game winning streak snapped.
Gonzalez had pitched well in May, throwing to a 3.46 ERA in five starts before going on the disabled list retroactive to May 31 with a right oblique strain, but he allowed four runs in five innings at Tampa Bay on June 17. In his two June starts, the 30-year-old right-hander gave up seven runs on 17 hits and five walks over 10 innings.
With six in a starting rotation generally built for five, Gonzalez's spot could be in jeopardy with another outing or two like the past two. The rest of the rotation has pitched pretty well in June. Orioles starters have posted quality starts in 17 of their past 25 games, pitching to a 1.38 ER those 17.
On Tuesday, Gonzalez was fortunate to have yielded only three runs given that he allowed 12 base runners. He repeatedly wriggled out of trouble, retiring the final out four times with runners in scoring position, twice with the bases loaded.
The White Sox hit shot after shot off of Gonzalez, many of them liners straight back up the middle. Gordon Beckham homered in the first, Alejandro De Aza had an RBI single in the second and ninth-place batter Tyler Flowers drove in a run in the fourth, but Gonzalez escaped what could've been a far worse line.
His 1-2-3 third inning was his only respite from pitching out of trouble. He got out of the second inning when DeAza was cut down at home trying to score on a double steal. Chicago scored and loaded the bases with two out in the fourth before he retired Beckham on a chopper that required him to make an athletic play. And after he loaded the bases again in the fifth, with Baltimore one pitch away from being blown out, he induced a popup and an inning-ending double play.
The Orioles went scoreless against Quintana until Pearce continued his torrid streak by leading off the sixth inning with a majestic home run just inside the left-field foul pole.
Pearce had already extended his hitting streak to seven games with a fourth-inning single. He's batting .481 over that span with four doubles, three homers, seven walks, seven runs scored and eight RBIs. His average is up to .344 after going 0 for 17 to open the season.
The White Sox tacked on an unearned run in the eighth that should be charged to catcher Caleb Joseph, who was unable to throw out Alexei Ramirez trying to steal second, allowed him to reach third on a passed ball, and then whiffed on a tag after second baseman Jonathan Schoop's throw home on a groundball beat Ramirez to the plate.