White Sox 4, Orioles 2

Buck Showalter’s unbeaten run with the Baltimore Orioles is
over, and the veteran manager found no consolation watching his
last-place team put up a good fight against the AL Central-leading
Chicago White Sox.

Gavin Floyd allowed two runs in seven innings and Carlos Quentin
homered in Chicago’s 4-2 victory Saturday night.

The Orioles had won four straight since Showalter made his debut
on Tuesday, matching the longest winning streak of the season of
the team with the worst record in the majors. Baltimore bolted to
an early 2-0 lead in a bid to make it five in a row, but the margin
failed to stand up.

It was Showalter’s first loss since Oct. 1, 2006, with the Texas
Rangers.

”I don’t like losing. I ain’t real happy,” Showalter said.
”The great thing about our game is that the positives and
negatives don’t last long. We’ve got another chance right around
the corner. Can you imagine sitting on tough losses for seven days
like football coaches do?

”No, it’s not one of deep, reflective moments. I want to figure
out what went wrong and try to fix it tomorrow. Tonight,” he
said.

After Quentin’s 22nd homer in the fourth inning, Chicago added
single runs in the seventh and eighth against reliever Jason Berken
(3-3) before scoring an unearned run in the ninth.

”You can see why Chicago’s in first place. They run quality
pitching out there night after night, and they make runs matter at
the end of the game,” Showalter said. ”They’ve got a lot of ways
to make leads matter, and getting quality starting pitching. That’s
where we hope to be one day.”

Floyd (8-8) gave up six hits, walked two and struck out five to
win his third straight start. The right-hander is 6-1 with a 1.17
ERA in his last nine outings.

Matt Thornton worked the eighth, his 21st consecutive scoreless
appearance, and J.J. Putz got three outs for his third save. Putz
was used by manager Ozzie Guillen instead of his usual closer,
Bobby Jenks, who is 0-2 with a 10.56 ERA since the All-Star
break.

”Bobby’s got a bad back,” Guillen said. ”The way Bobby’s been
throwing, we’ve got options out there. We have to wait to put Bobby
back in the closer rotation.”

Said Putz: ”I think everybody knows we’re a better team with
(Jenks) at the back end. It allows everybody else to slide up, mix
and match with lefties and righties, and he can come in and slam
the door.”

Baltimore was held hitless after Felix Pie singled with no outs
in the fourth inning – the fifth straight hit off Floyd.

”I was very worried early. Very worried,” Guillen said.

Chicago went up 3-2 in the eighth when Juan Pierre hit a leadoff
single, took second on sacrifice bunt and scored when Alex Rios
snapped a 4-for-37 skid with a single.

Before the game, Guillen offered this explanation of why Rios
didn’t play on Friday night: ”He’s got a sore everything. The
thing that was sore was his bat.”

Baltimore starter Kevin Millwood allowed four hits in six
innings and left with a 2-1 lead. He had yielded five runs in each
of his previous five appearances and hadn’t given up only one run
in any start since April 11.

Berken promptly gave up the advantage, however, in the seventh.
After Alexei Ramirez drew a two-out walk, A.J. Pierzynski followed
with an RBI double.

Pierzynski hurt his left ankle on third base while advancing on
the throw to the plate.

”I’ll be fine. It’s just a sprained ankle,” he said. ”I could
have stayed in the game, but they wanted me to get out and put ice
on it.”

Baltimore went up 1-0 when Adam Jones led off the second inning
with his 16th home run, the first allowed by Floyd in 12 starts
since June 2.

The Orioles added a run in the third, but a baserunning error
cost them a chance for more. After Nick Markakis hit a two-out
double and scored on a single by Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott followed
with a single. Wigginton headed for third, second-guessed his
decision, went anyway and was thrown out to end the inning.

Millwood pitched a scoreless first, no small feat considering he
allowed at least two first-inning runs in 11 of his previous 12
starts.

”It was definitely nice to get out of the first. That’s been
haunting me for a while,” Millwood said. ”Then after that, when I
wanted to go in, I got the ball in. When I missed, I missed off the
plate instead of over the middle for the most part.”

The exception occurred in the fourth, when Quentin hit a solo
shot to center on a 3-1 pitch. It was the AL-high 24th homer
allowed by Millwood.

NOTES: Pierre has hit in 14 straight games. … Orioles C Matt
Wieters has thrown out three would-be stealers in the last two
games. … Baltimore’s Cesar Izturis was 0 for 3. His next hit will
be his 1,000th.