BALTIMORE — At times it felt tense enough to be a playoff game — and it was another chance for the Baltimore Orioles to show just how different this year really is.
They broke through early against Dylan Cease and held late with Felix Bautista. Their starting pitcher went mid-inning with a lead. Their new wall in left field kept some 400-foot Chicago drives in the park.
Ryan Mountcastle hit a three-run homer against Cease in the first inning, and Bautista threw an eighth-inning jam to help the Orioles hold on for a 5-3 win 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 going 14 in a row for no more than one. The right-hander settled in after a rough first inning, but Austin Voth (4-1) weathered enough to keep the Orioles ahead.
“I felt like I was out of control with my fastball, I was looking for my curveball,” Voth said. “There were runners at every round, so just being able to get out of some of those traffic jams was huge.”
The White Sox, who 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 in with one out in the eighth and men in the first and third, trying to protect a two-run lead. After hitting Luis Robert, he hit Eloy Jiménez with a 102 mph fastball, loading the bases. Jose Abreu hit on a full count to end the threat.
“It’s such a good middle of the order, with Robert and Eloy and Abreu, that I just wanted to put my best guy there,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said.
Bautista then threw a clear ninth for his ninth save.
Jiménez hit a two-run homer in the first inning for Chicago.
Baltimore only had three hits against Cease, but he also walked three with four strikeouts. Baltimore’s first two batters hit base in the first, then Mountcastle sent a drive with one out to center for his 18th homer of the year.
After that, Cease struck out 13 of the next 14 batters, but Cedric Mullins walked to lead Baltimore’s sixth and went second when Cease wildly threw an out attempt for an error. Anthony Santander’s single brought Mullins home and chased Cease.
The Orioles entered 2 1/2 games behind the last joker in the American League. The White Sox came in four games behind 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 into left field at Camden Yards, which was pushed back before the season from his previous distance.
His 402-foot drive surely would have been a homer last year, but Robert still scored in that seventh inning on a single by Andrew Vaughn that made it 4-3. Jorge Mateo hit an RBI single late in the seventh to put Baltimore back by two.
Seby Zavala was also denied a home run by the new wall in the eighth, settling for a brace from 405 feet. The White Sox did not score this inning.
RETURN 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 throw around the left elbow. … Chicago put RHP Michael Kopech (sprained left knee) on the 15-day injured list and recalled LHP Tanner Banks from Triple-A Charlotte.
Orioles: Baltimore returned to INF Jonathan Araúz from the 10-day IL and opted for 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.
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