BALTIMORE (AP) — The Chicago White Sox had yielded 14 hits, including a career-high 11 by starter Chris Sale, yet still stood poised to end their four-game losing streak.
And then the magic vanished.
Chris Davis hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the ninth inning off Ronald Belisario to doom to the White Sox to a 6-4 defeat Monday night.
Chicago had no right to be in position to win, given that the Orioles got a hit in every inning and finished with three home runs.
Sale, who came in 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA, worked out of one jam after another in six innings. The left-hander walked one, hit a batter and had a season-low three strikeouts.
“My own manager was calling me Houdini,” Sale said. “I just got lucky in some cases. I should have lost that game easily in terms of giving up more runs.”
Davis was excluded from the starting lineup after batting just .130 in his previous 14 starts. Called upon by manager Buck Showalter with runners on first and second and one out in the ninth, Davis launched a 3-2 pitch into the right-field seats.
“I made a mistake with it,” Belasario (3-4) said. “For me, it’s pretty tough. I’m trying to get my job done, but things happen.”
Davis, who led the majors in home runs and RBIs last year, started the game in the dugout with a .216 batting average and 78 strikeouts in 218 at-bats.
Adam Jones and Caleb Joseph also homered for the Orioles, who trailed 4-2 in the eighth before rallying to hand the White Sox their eighth straight road loss.
Brad Brach (1-0) pitched two hitless innings for Baltimore.
Jose Abreu hit his 22nd homer and drove in three runs for Chicago, which went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
“Bad times are part of this and I think what we have to do is we have to play together,” Abreu said. “We have to get united. Tough times are going to be there. That’s part of the game.”
Chicago trailed 2-1 until Abreu led off the sixth with a drive over the wall in center. Dayan Viciedo followed with a double and Conor Gillaspie chased Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen with a run-scoring double.
An RBI double by Abreu made it 4-2 in the seventh. The rookie ranks third in the AL in home runs and his 60 RBIs is tied for third.
Joseph hit his second homer in two games, a solo shot off Zach Putnam in the eighth. The drive capped the rookie’s first career three-hit game.
That set the stage for Davis’ 13th home run. He hit 53 last year.
“I was really proud of the at-bat,” Davis said. “After I got down 0-1, I was really trying to elevate the ball, get a pitch out over the plate. I was able to lay off some pitches, fouled one off that probably wasn’t a strike, but at that point I was just trying to protect.”
Baltimore went up 2-0 in the first inning when Steve Pearce walked and Jones followed with a drive to center that bounced off the top of the wall, only the fifth home run allowed by Sale this season.
Chicago got a run back in the third. Adam Eaton reached on an infield hit, Gordon Beckham doubled and Abreu hit a run-scoring groundout.
In the bottom half, Sale struck out Delmon Young and J.J. Hardy after the Orioles put runners on the corners with one out. One inning later, Baltimore loaded the bases with one out before Pearce hit a short fly and Jones struck out.
The trend continued in the fifth, when three straight singles filled the bases with no outs. After Manny Machado hit into a force at the plate, Jonathan Schoop bounced into a 4-6-3 double play.
NOTES: Jones’ HR was his 151st with Baltimore, tying Chris Hoiles for 10th place on the Orioles’ career list. Of his 14 HRs this season, 10 have been solo shots. ... Eaton has reached base in 18 straight games, the longest streak by a White Sox left-handed batter since Juan Pierre had an 18-game run in 2011. ... Miguel Gonzalez makes his second career start against the White Sox on Tuesday night. Lefty Jose Quintana starts for Chicago. .... Pearce’s career-high run of five straight multihit games ended. ... The crowd of 17, 931 pushed the season total at Camden Yards of 1 million after 33 home dates, two games ahead of last year.