Joe Saunders’ second Orioles start will be a better one. We say this with some confidence, because it couldn’t get much worse than his first.
Acquired over the weekend from Arizona for reliever Matt Lindstrom, Saunders’ honeymoon lasted exactly one pitch, the first of the game. On the 0-1 to White Sox leadoff man Dewayne Wise, Saunders gave up his first hit as an Oriole. He would give up a walk, a double, and two more singles in a four-run first inning that the Orioles never recovered from, as the White Sox won game three of this four-game series, 8-1.
At no point in time was Saunders NOT in some kind of trouble. He gave up hits in each of his 5.1 innings of work. His new teammates helped him out defensively in the second and third with double plays after leadoff base hits. But in the fourth, his new battery mate let him down, as Matt Wieters dropped a foul pop. That play gave Tyler Flowers new life, and he made a productive out with it. Alexei Ramirez, who had singled, moved to second on Flowers’ tap out to Saunders. Gordon Beckham then doubled off the left field wall, plating Ramirez with Sox run number five.
Saunders would be pulled with one out and runners on second and third in the sixth. Kevin Gregg allowed the inherited runners to score against the first batter he faced. Again it was Beckham doing the damage, with a two-run single to center. Gregg’s outing was certainly less than stellar, allowing five of the seven batters he faced to get on base, and giving up a run of his own in the seventh.
The lone Orioles run scored on a sac fly from Carlos Quintanilla in the fourth, making it a 5-1 game. The Orioles were never really in this one, as Sox starter Dylan Axelrod (W, 2-2), just back from Triple-A, gave up just one run on three hits and four walks through 7.1 innings.
The birds and Sox wrap up their four game set Thursday afternoon at 12:35. Coming off back-to-back good outings, Zach Britton (3-1, 5.59) goes for the Orioles, against Chicago left hander Jose Quintana (5-2, 2.86).
- Things could’ve been worse, and likely, would have been had the O’s not turned three double plays.
- Two perfect innings in relief at the end of the game. Luis Ayala and Steve Johnson combined to deliver those two innings, striking out three in the process.
- Saunders: 5.1IP, 10H, 7R, 6ER, 2BB, 4K. Over his last 10 games, Saunders has yielded 73 hits and 14 walks in just over 60 innings. He is 2-7 with a 5.67 ERA in that time.
- Gregg: 1.1IP, 2H, 1ER, 3BB, 0K, 2 inherited runners scored. Over his last 10 games, Gregg has given up 18 hits and 7 walks in 11.1 innings. He has struck out 9, but has pitched to an ERA of 6.35.
- Wieters’ error was his 10th!
- Only three Orioles had hits: Wieters, Chris Davis, and Nick Markakis.