With Chris Davis leading the way, the Baltimore Orioles put on another long-ball display in an important win over the Chicago White Sox.
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This victory, however, was different than all the rest.
Scott Feldman pitched a five-hitter for Baltimore’s first complete game of the season, Davis hit his major league-leading 48th home run and the Orioles dealt Chicago its eighth straight defeat, 4-0 Friday night.
Danny Valencia and Matt Wieters also homered for the Orioles, who began the day three games behind Tampa Bay for the final AL wild-card slot.
Making his 11th start since he was acquired in a trade with the Cubs on July 2, Feldman (5-4) allowed only one runner past first base in his first career shutout. The right-hander walked one and struck out three.
”It’s my first shutout, so anytime something like that happens, it’s something I’ll always remember,” Feldman said. ”All these games are important, so just to win the game is huge. If I go nine or seven, whatever it is, as long as we win it’s a good game.”
His only other complete game came on May 1, for the Cubs against San Diego. It was Baltimore’s first complete game since June 16, 2012, by Jason Hammel against Atlanta.
”We just couldn’t get anything going,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ”We got a couple hits here and there, but nothing with anything on it. Even when we got some guys on, we couldn’t really do anything with it.”
Davis connected in the sixth inning off John Danks to move within two homers of tying Brady Anderson for the single-season club record. The solo shot gave Davis 123 RBIs, second-most in the majors behind Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (130).
The Orioles lead the majors with 191 home runs, which is the main reason why they’re still in the thick of the playoff chase. It was the second day in a row that Baltimore hit three solo shots.
”I think it’s just a combination of guys feeling a little bit of urgency and being aggressive in the right spots,” Davis said. ”Nobody’s going up there expecting to hit home runs or trying to hit home runs. I think the biggest thing is trying to get a pitch to drive and letting the bat kind of take over. This is obviously a big point in the year for us. We need to win as many games as possible and the fact that guys are stepping up big in these spots is huge.”
Chicago fell to 0-8 on a road trip that began with three losses in Boston and three more at Yankee Stadium. The last-place White Sox have scored only one run in the first two games of this series, which runs through Sunday.
”I don’t think they’re pressing,” Ventura said. ”It’s just the way it is. I don’t know what there is to press for.”
Danks retired the first eight batters he faced, all on balls in the air. Then Valencia hit a liner into the left-field seats to put the Orioles up 1-0. It was the 15th consecutive run scored by Baltimore via the home run.
Chicago missed a chance to pull even in the fourth when Jeff Keppinger was thrown out by center fielder Adam Jones while trying to score on a two-out single by Paul Konerko. Replays indicated Keppinger got his hand on the plate before Wieters made the tag.
Danks didn’t get his first groundball out until the fifth inning, when Michael Morse hit into a double play following singles by J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis. Valencia followed with an infield hit down the third-base line for a 2-0 lead.
Davis and Wieters homered in succession in the sixth, chasing Danks. Davis was 0 for 12 lifetime against Danks before a single in the fourth.
”The few mistakes I made, they hit them out of the ballpark,” Danks said.
Wieters’ homer was his 21st, the 20th as a catcher. He is the first player in Orioles history to have three straight seasons with 20 home runs as a catcher, according to the team.
NOTES: The White Sox activated RH reliever Ramon Troncoso from the DL and outrighted RHP Jhan Marinez to Triple-A Charlotte. … Baltimore purchased the contract of OF Chris Dickerson from Triple-A Norfolk and designated INF Alex Liddi for assignment. … Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound for the Orioles on Saturday. Hector Santiago will pitch for the White Sox. … Keppinger got two hits off Feldman and is 6 for 11 lifetime against him. … Jones is 1 for 30 lifetime against Danks. … Hardy has hit in six straight games, going 10 for 20 during that span.