Forget throwing fastballs, Jeremy Guthrie couldn’t even play catch a week ago.
Feeling much better, Guthrie pitched eight solid innings to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 10-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Gregg Zaun was 3 for 4 with a three-run homer and four RBIs as the Orioles improved to 15-29 on the road.
After struggling in his last start, Guthrie (7-8) bounced back by allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out five and walked one. He had his last start skipped before the All-Star break because of an illness.
Guthrie lasted only 2 1-3 innings against the Seattle Mariners on July 7, allowing three runs and four walks, and blamed a viral infection and dizziness for his poor outing.
The break couldn’t come at a better time for Guthrie.
“It did in my case because of the virus I had,” said Guthrie. “I was unable to even throw a baseball the second day before the All-Star break began with any power behind it. I needed a break physically for that reason. If it served as a mental break as well, that’s another positive.”
DeWayne Wise and Chris Getz homered for the Chicago White Sox, who failed to complete their first sweep at home this season. The White Sox stayed 1 1/2 games behind the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers, who lost to the Yankees.
“For a month and half we’ve been playing pretty good baseball. Today is going to happen. We couldn’t do anything (right) on the field,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “That’s just part of the game, you can’t expect the team to max out every day.”
The Orioles took advantage of some shaky White Sox pitching in the fifth inning to score five runs as Chicago’s three pitchers combined to give up three walks, three hits and hit a batter.
The trouble started when White Sox starter Jose Contreras allowed a one-out single to Adam Jones and walked Nick Markakis. Aubrey Huff followed with a single to load the bases. Then on a 0-1 count to Melvin Mora, Contreras threw his second wild pitch of the game, allowing Jones to score.
“You could tell right away the majority of the guys in the lineup were waiting him (Contreras) out. We grinded out a lot of tough at bats, we had his pitch count up around 90 early in the game and that was key,” Zaun said.
Contreras’ outing ended after he hit Mora with a pitch to reload the bases. White Sox reliever Aaron Poreda came in and walked in two consecutive runs before being pulled by Guillen.
Contreras (4-8) lasted 4 1-3 innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on five hits and four walks.
“He was struggling all day long,” Guillen said. “I think maybe because of the All-Star break and that many days off, you get rusty, physically and mentally. The velocity was there, everything was there, he just couldn’t throw strikes.”
Zaun greeted White Sox reliever D.J. Carrasco with an RBI single. The inning finally ended for the White Sox, but not before they gave up another run. Cesar Izturis hit a bouncer to second baseman Getz.
Getz was expecting to tag out Zaun, but Zaun didn’t move and Getz was forced to throw to first to get Izturis. Scott scored from third before the White Sox tagged out Zaun.
Luke Scott hit an RBI double off White Sox reliever Tony Pena in the ninth and Zaun tagged Pena for a three-run shot. It was his fourth of the season.
“There were a couple of other things that were real significant for us. Taking pitches, drawing walks, Zaun’s baserunning play was a big one. Then we got some hits late in the game,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
With one out in the third, Wise homered for the first time since Sept. 19, 2008, at Kansas City.
Getz added a solo shot off Guthrie in the eighth. His second of the season.
Orioles relief pitcher Dennis Sarfate, currently on the 15-day disabled list with circulatory problems in his right arm, had his rehab outing pushed back two days because of “shoulder tightness,” according to Trembley. … RHP Freddy Garcia, who was signed by the White Sox on June 4, is expected to throw a bullpen session on Monday then start a minor league rehab assignment. He was released by the New York Mets following two bad starts for Triple-A Buffalo in April. He had surgery on his right shoulder in August 2007 and made only 14 starts the previous two seasons with Philadelphia and Detroit, going 2-6 with a 5.55 ERA. … White Sox RF Jermaine Dye was 0 for 3, snapping his 11-game hitting streak.