The one-hour, 21-minute rain delay that preceded this game pushed it out of the window of time I had before a friend’s kid’s birthday party, so I had to cut out after the Orioles scored one on a solo shot in the top of the third, answered by Lenyn Sosa scoring from first on a rare pair of Baltimore blunders in the bottom of the inning.
I was able to check back in on the game as it was coming to a close.
First, I saw the score itself: Orioles 6, White Sox 1 (which turned into 2).
Then I saw the line score, which showed Baltimore scoring four runs in the top of the seventh.
Then I checked the box score, and saw that all of those runs fell on Lance Lynn’s tab.
It’s hard to think of a situation where a starting pitcher could give up four runs in that late of an inning in a defensible manner. Maybe I can picture a pitcher cruising through six innings on 70 pitches, then gives up two singles, an error and a grand slam over his first 10 of the seventh, or some similar kind of sequence that represents a swift and stunning reversal of fortune.
Lynn’s seventh-inning downfall unfolded more slowly. He plunked Robinson Chirinos with one out. Two batters later, he walked Jorge Mateo on six pitches when he started 0-2, which put him over 100 pitches and brought the lineup around for a fourth time.
Granted, Cedric Mullins’ bases-loading single was a swinging bunt off the end of the bat on a quality cutter that left the bat at 18.4 mph, but then he plunked Trey Mancini on the hand with his first-pitch fastball up and in to make it 3-1, and that ended his day.
In came José Ruiz instead of a higher-leverage option, and he piped a fastball that Austin Hays rifled into the left center gap to unload the bases for a five-run lead.
Lynn finished with this line: 6.2 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR
He started the inning with this one:
Then again, even that line probably wouldn’t have been good enough to win. The Orioles scored their second run in the top of the fifth when Leury García crossed in front of Lenyn Sosa well on the right side of second and booted another seemingly harmless Mullins grounder, and far enough away to allow Mateo to score from second.
The White Sox scored a second run themselves, but only during Dillon Tate’s second inning of work in the ninth inning. He plunked Gavin Sheets and Jake Burger to start the inning, but got three consecutive groundouts to limit the damage and cap off yet another uninspiring effort on that side of the ball for the White Sox.
They did manage 10 baserunners after being held to two on Friday, but they were held homerless for the fifth straight game, and their attempts to sequence productive plate appearances resulted in an 0-for-7 performance with runners in scoring position. Gavin Sheets led off the second with a shift-thwarting single through the left side, only to get thrown out trying to advance on a ball that Chirinos caught between his mask and neck and recovered for a well-on-time throw. When the balls aren’t going over the fence and most of the fast guys aren’t allowed to run their hardest, the runs don’t come running.
Pair that lack of offense with a run-prevention unit that is both limited by injury and managed reactively, and this is what you get.
*Sosa made his first start atop the order while playing second, and he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Mateo robbed a bit for a first hit with a leaping grab, but Sosa did score the run from first because his legs allowed him to exert effort, and he also made his own falling stab on a sinking liner, so there were things to build on.
*Reese McGuire completed a SHOTHO to end the fourth inning.
*The Orioles now have more wins than the White Sox this year.