Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's game kicked off a three game set in Chicago and featured a matchup between Bud Norris and White Sox ace Chris Sale. The Orioles scored first when JJ Hardy hit a solo home run in the 2nd. Steve Pearce drove in a run on an RBI double in the 5th and Nelson Cruz blasted a solo home run in the 6th. The White Sox got on the board in the 7th when Leury Garcia hit a two run double. The Os responded with a 5-run inning in the 8th, highlighted by a three-run double by Jonathan Schoop and a two run blast from Nick Markakis. A close game quickly turned into a 8-3 runaway win for the Birds.
Bud Norris knew he needed to be on his A game tonight to compete with Chris Sale and he delivered. Norris was outstanding most of the night, allowing just one base runner through the 6th inning. He pounded the strike zone with his 92-95 MPH fastball and finished hitters off with his mid-80's slider. His command finally slipped in the 7th when he hit a batter and allowed back to back doubles to bring home two runs. Overall? Norris had a terrific outing on the mound and earned his 11th win of the season
Final Line: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, Win
Brad Brach took care of the final two innings after Norris in dominant fashion. He retired all six hitters in order with a pair of strikeouts.
The Orioles batters seem to be the lobe team in baseball that had given Chris Sale trouble this year. With home runs from Nelson Cruz and JJ Hardy, the Os became the first team this season to homer trice off Sale in an outing. Sale has given up 19 hits and a .368 opponent average to the Oriole bats this season. As a result, they were able to get Sale out of the game after the 6th and put up a crooked number against the bullpen in the 8th. Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce both had outstanding 3-for-5 nights. JJ Hardy also continued his recent tear with a 2-for-5 night.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
Boy, did we have a highlight tonight. Nick Markakis made one of the best catches of the year in the 7th, especially when you consider the circumstances. He robbed Conor Gillaspie of a home run with a well timed catch at the wall that would have given the White Sox a 4-3 lead. Nelson Cruz made an excellent sliding catch in foul territory. ;
Key Moments In The Game
The Markakis catch made a big difference in how this game may have turned out. The clutch two out bases clearing double by Jonathan Schoop in the 8th removed any doubt of whether the Os would hold on for a win.
Other Notes/ Musings
The Orioles are now 10-5 against starting pitchers with ERA's in the top ten of the AL this year. 3 of the 9 home runs allowed by Chris Sale have come via the Birds. Box Score
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