Baltimore, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - Nelson Cruz hit a game-tying grand slam in
the eighth inning Wednesday night and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago
White Sox 5-4 on a wild pitch hours later in the 12th.
The Orioles were being shut out in the three-game series finale before Cruz's
two-out blast, which came on Chicago's fourth pitcher of the inning.
The game was delayed for more than an hour between the ninth and 10th innings
because of rain.
In the 12th, Nick Hundley drew a leadoff walk against Daniel Webb (4-2) and
pinch-runner David Lough went to third base on Nick Markakis' single.
Lough stumbled and fell making the turn and had to scramble back to third,
then scored moments later when Webb uncorked a low pitch to Steve Pearce that
kicked past catcher Tyler Flowers.
The Orioles bounced back from Tuesday's 4-2 loss to win for the sixth time in
their last eight games.
Jose Abreu homered for the White Sox, who have lost 10 of their last 13.
White Sox starter Hector Noesi gave up consecutive singles to Hundley and
Markakis to start the bottom of the eighth inning and was relieved by Zach
Putnam, who then retired Pearce and Adam Jones on fly balls.
"(Noesi) threw a great game," praised White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "This
was really the best he's thrown since he's been here."
Scott Downs came in and walked Chris Davis at the end of a nine-pitch at-bat
to load the bases, bringing on Javy Guerra.
Cruz slapped a 2-1 fastball the other way and off the top of the wall in right
field for his 24th homer of the season. Moises Sierra, who was a defensive
replacement in right for Dayan Viciedo, jumped at the wall but his glove was a
good foot away from where the ball struck.
Noesi, who had been cruising before the eighth, was charged with two of the
runs. He gave up nine hits, no walks and struck out two and was six outs from
snapping a two-start losing streak.
"He was in the bottom of the zone all night," said Orioles manager Buck
Showalter. "He didn't throw more than two or three balls above the belt all
outing. He was good."
Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez is still seeking his first home win as an
Oriole after allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings.
Both teams stranded runners in 10th inning. The White Sox had runners at first
and second in the top of the 12th when Tommy Hunter (2-1) replaced Brian
Matusz and struck out pinch-hitter Paul Konerko to end the threat.
Abreu hit his 23rd homer of the season on the first pitch of the fourth
inning, driving it over the wall in left field to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
Alejandro De Aza drew a leadoff walk in the fifth and scored on Adam Eaton's
triple to the warning track in right-center to make it 2-0, but Eaton was
thrown out at home plate on Gordon Beckham's grounder to third.
Chicago pushed its lead to 4-0 in the seventh, chasing Jimenez from the game.
After Viciedo walked leading off and De Aza doubled, both runners scored on
Flowers' hit to the left-field wall. Flowers was originally ruled safe on a
slide at second base but the call was overturned on an Orioles challenge.
Jimenez was replaced by Brad Brach after giving up a single to Eaton.
The Orioles are 4-12 in Jimenez's last 16 starts. That now includes a 1-7 mark
at home ... Jimenez had six strikeouts ... De Aza reached up at the wall in
left field to steal a potential home run from Cruz in the second inning ...
Cruz tied Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion for the MLB lead in homers ... The
Orioles will continue an 11- game homestand with a four-game series against
Tampa Bay beginning Friday ... The White Sox finish an 11-game road trip with
a four-game series in Toronto starting Thursday.