BALTIMORE — The White Sox need to win five of their last 15 games to avoid their fourth 100-loss season in franchise history and having the Baltimore Orioles to play three times this weekend isn’t hurting their noble endeavor.
With six games left against the division leading Cleveland Indians and three against the Cubs, it’s time to make some hay while the getting is good.
And make hay the Sox (58-89) they did on a misty night at Camden Yards Friday, defeating the lowly Orioles 8-6 behind six innings of two-run ball from James Shields, a three-hit night from Yoan Moncada, home runs from Omar Narvaez, Avisail Garcia and rookie Ryan Cordell and an RBI triple off the center field wall from Nicky Delmonico. The Orioles are 42-105 after their latest loss.
Fresh off a 4-2 victory in Kansas City Wednesday and an off day Thursday, the Sox came to Camden Yards a relaxed and somewhat rested bunch, but, with only two weeks to go and nothing but pride to play for, still focused on trying to win a baseball game.
Pitchers and hitters gathered for their usual meetings before the first game of a series. Rookie Ryan Cordell, in search of his first major league hit, broke down video of Orioles starter Luis Ortiz. Helping him? Center fielder Adam Engel, who sat out in favor of Cordell, who would connect on a 419-footer against lefty Tanner Scott.
Daniel Palka, getting set to do an interview with MLB’s Chatting Cage but realizing it was meeting time, dropped it like a hot potato and went back for it after the meeting.
Palka singled twice and drove in the first run of the game, scoring Moncada, who led off with a ground rule double, his 25th. Cordell’s homer was a welcome blast after the Orioles scored four runs against lefty Aaron Bummer and righty Ian Hamilton in an Orioles seventh complicated for the Sox by Moncada’s error, his team-high 19th, on a potential double play grounder.
The Sox went into the game with 1,412 strikeouts, the most in the majors and the most in a season in franchise history, and it’s Moncada who is most responsible with a major league leading 196 whiffs, the second-most in franchise history. But he did not strike out Friday and somewhat quietly is putting together a respectable push to the finish line by reaching base in 21 of his last 22 games and batting .288 during that stretch.
Shields (7-16), unspectacular but serviceable and reliable making every one of his starts at age 36, lowered his ERA a smidge to 4.53 and finally won on the road for the first time since Opening Day. Trey Mancini homered twice to account for the damage against him.
Nate Jones, in his second appearance since coming back from a pronator injury, pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save since May 22. Jones has five saves this season.
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