Jose Abreu ended his homerless streak on Tuesday night.
But without Adam Eaton up top the rest of the White Sox offense continues to look inadequate. Chris Tillman pitched a gem and the Baltimore Orioles easily overcame Abreu’s 32nd home run in a 5-1 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.
Tillman (10-5) struck out nine over eight innings as he combined with Tommy Hunter on a three-hitter. The White Sox, who could get Eaton back from the disabled list on Sunday, didn’t have a hit after the third inning. Jose Quintana (6-10) allowed four earned runs over six innings and took the loss.
“I don't know if it's a wall but we are hitting a stretch where, if you don't have Eaton at the top, we were scoring runs when he was there,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It was just enough of a spark of getting on, he was pretty hot at the time. We have to find somebody else to get on there and get something going.”
Eaton’s .370 on-base percentage has been sorely missed.
Against Tillman, the White Sox had a man on base in a total of four innings. None advanced past first base aside from Abreu on his home run trot in the first inning.
The White Sox had nothing for Tillman after the jolt from Abreu, which ended a homerless streak that dated back to July 29, a stretch of 77 plate appearances.
Abreu’s 405-foot drive to left center tied the score in the first inning.
After the homer, Tillman retired 21 of 24 batters, including 10 in a row in the middle innings. Abreu snapped that stretch with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning but Tillman struck out Adam Dunn, got Avisail Garcia to ground into a fielder’s choice and got Conor Gillaspie to pop out.
Tillman threw strikes on 68 of 105 pitches.
“He was just locating with all of his pitches,” outfielder Jordan Danks said. “That’s something he does on a regular basis. I faced him a bunch in the minor leagues and it’s no different up here. He’s always a tough battle and he proved that today.”
Baltimore made things difficult for Quintana early and didn’t let up.
Steve Pearce doubled in the first inning and scored on Adam Jones’ RBI single to pull ahead 1-0. Quintana appeared to settle in from there but tired in the sixth inning.
Jones doubled with one out and Delmon Young’s two-out RBI single score the All-Star outfielder. J.J. Hardy singled to keep the inning alive before Chris Davis doubled in two runs to put the Orioles ahead by three.
Quintana allowed eight hits and struck out three.
“I feel a little bit frustrated because I try to keep the game close,” Quintana said. “But I think it’s bad looking. I threw a good pitch to Jones and the ball was down the line to right field.
“Davis, it was a little bit down, but it’s a good pitch for a good low-ball hitter.”
Nick Hundley hit a solo homer in the seventh off Daniel Webb to give Baltimore a four-run cushion.
Hunter pitched a scoreless ninth.
The White Sox have scored 32 runs in nine games since Eaton went on the disabled list with an oblique strain. But 18 of those runs came in two games as the White Sox have scored three or fewer in the other seven.
The team has a .286 on-base percentage without Eaton in the lineup.
“Offensively, we didn't get anything going,” Ventura said. “We've been that way for a couple days, we haven't really got a rally going to get a big hit and keep it going. If we're not going to score, it's going to be tough on him anyway.”