BALTIMORE (AP) — At times, this felt tense enough to be a playoff game — and it was another chance for the Baltimore Orioles to show how different this year really is.
They broke through early against Dylan Cease and held on late with Félix Bautista. Their starting pitcher made it to the middle innings with a lead. Their new wall in left field kept a couple 400-foot Chicago drives in the park.
Ryan Mountcastle hit a three-run homer off Cease in the first inning, and Bautista pitched out of an eighth-inning jam to help the Orioles hold on for a 5-3 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday night.
Cease (12-6) allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings, his second straight start allowing at least three earned runs after he went 14 in a row yielding no more than one. The right-hander settled in after a rough first inning, but Austin Voth (4-1) pitched through trouble enough times to keep the Orioles ahead.
“I felt like I didn’t have good command of my fastball, I was searching for my curveball,” Voth said. “Had runners on every inning, so just to be able to get out of some of those jams was huge.”
The White Sox, who have lost five of six, left 13 men on base.
Voth allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Bautista was the last of five relievers for the Orioles. He came on with one out in the eighth and men on first and third, trying to protect a two-run lead. After striking out Luis Robert, he hit Eloy Jiménez with a 102 mph fastball, loading the bases. Jose Abreu struck out on a full count to end the threat.
“That’s such a great middle of the order, with Robert and Eloy and Abreu, that I just wanted to put my best guy out there,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said.
Bautista then pitched a clean ninth for his ninth save.
Jiménez hit a two-run homer in the first inning for Chicago.
Baltimore managed only three hits off Cease, but he also walked three with four strikeouts. The first two Baltimore hitters reached base in the first, and then Mountcastle sent a one-out drive to center for his 18th homer of the year.
After that, Cease retired 13 of the next 14 hitters, but Cedric Mullins walked to lead off the Baltimore sixth and went to second when Cease threw wildly on a pickoff attempt for an error. Anthony Santander’s one-out single brought Mullins home and chased Cease.
The Orioles entered 2 1/2 games behind the final wild card in the American League. The White Sox came in four games back of that wild card and three behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
Robert extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a three-hit night. He doubled twice, including once on a drive that hit high off the wall in left field at Camden Yards, which was pushed back before the season from its previous distance.
His 402-foot drive surely would have been a homer last year, but Robert scored anyway in that seventh inning on a pinch-hit single by Andrew Vaughn that made it 4-3. Jorge Mateo hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to put Baltimore back up by two.
Seby Zavala was also denied a home run by the new wall in the eighth, settling for a 405-foot double. The White Sox didn’t score that inning.
FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
Baltimore is 4-1 against the White Sox this year after going 0-7 in 2021.
White Sox: Jiménez left the game after being hit by Bautista’s pitch around the left elbow. … Chicago put RHP Michael Kopech (left knee strain) on the 15-day injured list and recalled LHP Tanner Banks from Triple-A Charlotte.
Orioles: Baltimore reinstated INF Jonathan Araúz from the 10-day IL and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.
Spenser Watkins (4-3) starts for the Orioles against Lucas Giolito (9-7) on Wednesday night. Giolito lasted just three innings in a loss to Houston on Thursday.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
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