BALTIMORE—On a bizarre night, where the Orioles nearly hit into a replay-induced triple play and saw their magnificent defense and bullpen cost them a game, their most critical reliever was forced to leave with a sprained left ankle.
When Zach Britton tried to field a bunt from Chicago’s Adam Eaton, he injured his ankle, leaving the go-ahead run on base. Britton’s replacement, Vance Worley allowed the run to score, and the Orioles had suffered a deflating 8-7 loss to the White Sox before 29,152 at Oriole Park on Saturday night.
Britton (1-1) wasn’t available to comment on his injury, but manager Buck Showalter was hopeful the injury wasn’t a serious one.
“We’ll see how it is tomorrow,” Showalter said. “He jammed it more than rolled it…The proverbial day to day. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Zach’s always been a pretty quick healer, so we’ll see.”
If Britton is lost for any length of time, Darren O’Day would probably assume his role as closer. O’Day allowed three runs in the eighth inning to give Chicago (16-9) a 7-5 lead.
The Orioles (14-9), who had their three-game winning streak snapped, tied the score at 7 in the bottom of the eighth.
Mychal Givens inherited a 5-3 lead and gave up a run in the seventh.
“Poor performance by the bullpen, myself obviously,” O’Day said. “It wasn’t good by us. I left a lot of pitches over the middle of the plate. When that happens, you’re going to give up hits.”
Britton anchors a strong bullpen, but even without him, the Orioles still have O’Day, Givens, Brad Brach and Dylan Bundy.
“I think Zach’s the best in the game, so it would be a tough period without him. We’ve got guys that have done the job before. So, yeah, it was a bad night, but if you look at the body of work we’ve put together, we have a lot of confidence. So we’ll figure something out,” O’Day said.
In the bottom of the third, with the Orioles trailing 3-1. Hyun Soo Kim doubled down the right field line. Manny Machado reached on an infield single to short while Kim held.
Jones grounded to third as Todd Frazier forced Kim at third and threw to second baseman Brett Lawrie to force Machado.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura argued that Machado had interfered with Lawrie, and he couldn’t throw to first in an attempt to get Jones.
After a delay of 3:29, the call stood, and the White Sox’s attempt at a triple play failed. Ventura was ejected after he disputed the decision.
“I didn’t have a whole lot of argument if they had overturned it, to be honest with you. If they had called him out at first,” Showalter said.
“Manny just got a little over-aggressive. Where we got fortunate is they didn’t attempt to turn the ball over to first base and didn’t feel like it impacted the play, I guess.
The Orioles trailed by two because Machado and Jonathan Schoop each committed an error in the third, leading to two runs, but that was nearly forgotten by the ninth.
After Worley came in, he walked Carlos Sanchez and gave up an RBI single to Jose Abreu.
Showalter, whose team finished the month with nine wins in 11 games, bemoaned the cold, wet conditions the Orioles have faced at home.
“We’ve been playing in this slop for a while,” Showalter said.
Nate Jones (2-0) retired the final four Orioles for the win.
The Orioles had 14 hits. Kim and Pedro Alvarez each had three. Alvarez had his first home run with the Orioles, and Kim watched his batting average reach .600. He’s 9-for-15.
Machado, Chris Davis and Adam Jones each had two hits, and Schoop hit his fourth home run.
Kevin Gausman left with a 4-3 lead. He allowed two earned runs on four hits in six innings in his second start of the season.
I obviously wanted to go back out there, but it’s a long season,” Gausman said. “Hopefully, next time out, I can do that. Right now, I respect [Showalter’s] opinion to take me out right there. I felt good. Once you go six innings, you don’t want to jump to seven right away. Getting through six was good.”
The Orioles touched Mat Latos, who entered the game with a dazzling 0.74 ERA, for four runs on 11 hits in five innings.
NOTES: Joey Rickard didn’t start for the first time, but he came into the game as a defensive replacement for Trumbo in the eighth. … Chris Sale (5-0, 1.66) faces Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 3.91) on Sunday.