BALTIMORE (AP) - The Baltimore Orioles had plenty of chances to beat the Chicago White Sox.
A bad call ruined one of those opportunities. The rest of the blame lies on the Orioles themselves.
Baltimore went 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position Tuesday night in a 4-3 loss that featured manager Buck Showalter's second ejection of the season.
Showalter was tossed after umpire Phil Cuzzi called Nick Markakis out on the front end of a double steal in the fifth inning. Markakis and third base coach Willie Randolph initially protested the call, and Showalter carried the argument to another level before being tossed by Cuzzi. Replays indicated the runner was safe.
That short-circuited a three-run uprising that cut Chicago's lead to 4-3, and although the Orioles threatened later, they couldn't score the tying run.
``It's one of those things. It's unfortunate,' Showalter said of the call. ``You can usually go back to three or four things that would have made it not matter. Obviously, he's safe, but it's tough.'
It wouldn't have mattered if Robert Andino hadn't missed the tag on a stolen base, which resulted in Chicago's third run. It wouldn't have mattered if Markakis didn't freeze at second base on Vladimir Guerrero's fourth-inning single and ultimately was stranded at third. And it wouldn't have mattered if Baltimore pushed across a run in the seventh after getting a runner at third with one out.
``We had plenty of opportunities to capitalize, starting with myself,' Markakis said. ``You make small mistakes in the game and they come back and bite you in the butt. ... Those kinds of plays are magnified times 10 with the situation that we're in.'
By losing the first two games of the four-game series, Baltimore will again fail to win its first series since June 24-26. The Orioles are 14-38 since June 10.
Brent Morel homered and drove in two runs and Carlos Quentin also connected for the White Sox, who have won a season-high five straight.
Before the current run, the White Sox were 52-58. They still have a losing record, but are well within striking distance of first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
``We've kind of just been waiting for this all year, really,' Morel said. ``We have a lot of potential. It's kind of been a disappointing year, but knowing that we have a little time left to make a push, hopefully we can keep playing well.'
Gavin Floyd (10-10) gave up three runs in 6 2-3 innings for the White Sox. The Maryland native is 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA lifetime in Baltimore. Coming off a horrid performance against the Yankees in which he surrendered 10 runs in 2 1-3 innings, Floyd improved to 4-1 in his last five starts.
After Floyd left, the bullpen kept Baltimore hitless the rest of the way. Sergio Santos struck out Andino for the final out to earn his 24th save and extend his road scoreless streak to 29 games.
Floyd ended the fifth by retiring Guerrero with a runner on second. In the seventh, after Felix Pie hit a leadoff double and advanced on a sacrifice, J.J. Hardy grounded out to third and former Oriole Will Ohman struck out Markakis.
Making his first start with Baltimore after being obtained on waivers from Toronto, Jo-Jo Reyes (5-9) allowed four runs and five hits in four innings. Both walks he issued came around to score, and he also yielded two home runs.
Chris Jakubauskas followed with four innings of two-hit relief.
``Jak was great,' Showalter said. ``He was the reason why we had a chance there.'
Chicago jumped on top with a two-run second inning. After Quentin led off with his 24th home run, Brent Lillibridge walked with two outs and scored on a single by Morel.
Reyes walked leadoff hitter Alexei Ramirez in the third, then got two outs before A.J. Pierzynski doubled in a run. The hit came after Andino missed a tag on Ramirez during a steal of second base.
In the fourth, Morel hit a 3-1 pitch into the left-field seats. He has two home runs in 263 at_bats this season.
Baltimore finally broke through in the fifth. Three straight singles loaded the bases, and Hardy drove in a run with a fielder's choice. Markakis followed with an RBI single, and another run scored when shortstop Ramirez fumbled Adam Jones' grounder. Then came the ill-fated double steal attempt.
NOTES: Davis returned after missing four straight games with a sore shoulder. ... Chicago RHP Philip Humber (8-8) makes his 20th start of the season Wednesday night. He's 0-4 with a 7.97 ERA in his last four outings. Baltimore will counter with Tommy Hunter, obtained in a trade with Texas on July 30. In his starting debut with the Orioles, Hunter yielded four runs in four innings in a loss to Toronto. ... Pierzynski has four hits in the series after coming to town in an 0-for-12 slump.
The Associated Press News Service
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