By Jake Rill
With the season that the White Sox have had, sometimes smaller leads can seem more insurmountable. For all of Thursday’s series-opener against the Baltimore Orioles, they never trailed by more than two runs.
Yet they wasted their only rally early and failed to create any more, as they dropped their seventh straight game, losing 3-1 before 17,383 at Camden Yards.
“We usually play hard for nine innings, we try not to think about how other games have gone,” first baseman Paul Konerko said. “But the end result, you can lump this in with the rest of them.”
Konerko was 0-for-4 against Baltimore (74-65) starter Miguel Gonzalez, who limited the Sox to just one run on four hits over seven innings.
The White Sox (56-83) had a chance to break the game open and take command in the top of the third inning. Conor Gillaspie and Dayan Viciedo led off the inning with back-to-back singles.
Then, Gonzalez (9-7) walked Bryan Anderson to load the bases. However, Alejandro De Aza grounded into a double play.
Gillaspie scored, but the Sox were unable to get Viciedo in from third with two outs and break the 1-1 tie, as Gordon Beckham grounded out to end the inning.
"That was our spot," manager Robin Ventura said. "Gonzalez pitched well. He really pitched from behind well. We got him in that situation, and he gets a double play to really get out of it.”
After that, the White Sox were stymied by Gonzalez. From the fourth through the seventh, the Sox mustered just a pair of base hits, both singles.
White Sox starter Jose Quintana (7-6) matched a season-high with three home runs allowed. However, those were the only three runs he surrendered.
“The solo homers, they count,” Ventura said. “As much as you like to limit the people on base when you hit them, sometimes when you give them up, it bites you."
The Sox left-hander failed to win for the first time since Aug. 16, despite making his third quality start in four outings since. He was not as strong against the Orioles as he was earlier this year, when he pitched seven shutout innings, giving up just two hits and striking out 11 on July 4.
“Another tough loss for him,” Konerko said. “He’s pitched real well for us this year, and we haven’t got wins for him.”
Quintana yielded homers to Adam Jones in the first and J.J. Hardy and Brian Roberts in the fifth.
“(I) was trying to stop our losing streak today,” Quintana said through an interpreter. “(I) was trying to do a good job to keep us in the game so we could do that, and it didn’t happen.”
Viciedo was the lone White Sox player with more than one hit, as he finished 2-for-3 in the No. 8 hole.
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De Aza singled off Baltimore reliever Tommy Hunter in the eighth, but Beckham grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
White Sox reliever Addison Reed pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out the side.
Orioles closer Jim Johnson followed with a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two, to pick up his 42nd save.
The loss gave the White Sox their third losing streak of seven or more games this season, as they are still looking for their first win on this road trip against American League East opponents.
Regardless, Ventura said there’s nothing his club can do except keep playing games out.
"It's frustrating," Ventura said. "You just keep going. There is nothing else you can do."