BALTIMORE—Entering Tuesday night’s game, the Orioles had been outscored at home, 102-50, in losing 10 of 11. Turnabout was fair play for the Orioles, who pounded the Chicago White Sox, 9-1, a night after losing, 12-2.
The Orioles hit four home runs for the first time this season. Renato Nunez, Chris Davis, Dwight Smith Jr. and Joey Rickard each homered to account for eight of the nine runs. Smith also took a home run away from Chicago’s Adam Engel with a running, leaping catch over the left field wall in the second to key a strong defensive effort behind starter Andrew Cashner.
Nunez hit his sixth home run in the third. Davis hit his second in the third, a two-run shot that was his first at home.
Smith hit a three-run homer in the fourth. Three batters later, Rickard hit a two-run home run, his second.
“I didn’t know how far it was going to go, but as soon as I saw it dropping down I knew I had a chance at it,” Smith said about his catch. “…I just timed it right.”
Trey Mancini also played a solid right field, making difficult catches to end the first and third.
The five runs in the fourth equaled a season high for the Orioles, who are 9-16. They’d lost their previous four games.
“We played really well all three phases tonight,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It was obviously a really well pitched game by Cashner, giving us what we needed, which was some length, seven innings. Seven great innings.
“Really threw the ball well. How about our defense? Our defense was really good tonight. I thought we played the game really well. One of our better efforts of the year.”
Cashner dominant: Cashner became the first Oriole starter to complete seven innings, allowing a run on five hits.
“I thought the first three innings I wasn’t very good,” Cashner said. “I thought the defense really picked me up. Richie [Martin] in the first inning and then Dwight’s rob and then Trey’s big pickup out there in the outfield. It allowed me to get into a rhythm, started attacking the hitters. I thought my curveball and my changeup really got a lot better as the game went on, and I started locating my fastball.”
Cashner appreciated the offensive support.
“It’s huge. It allows you to go out there and kind of pitch the game that you want to pitch,” Cashner said. “Once you get ahead, once you get that kind of lead, you just start burying them.”
His seven innings equal his longest start with the Orioles. He’s 4-1. A year ago, Cashner finished 4-15.
“I think the game’s kind of changed,” Cashner said. “I don’t think wins and losses really matter anymore. I think you look at the body of work I’ve done over my career. I think I’ve had a lot of quality starts and not a lot of wins to show for it. I think it’s kind of a biased stat. I think quality starts matter more.”
Davis stays hot: Davis had a single and homer. Since starting the season 0-for-33, Davis is 9-for-24 and his average is up to .155.
“I think it’s probably pretty natural to press early,” Hyde said. “A lot of stuff that he was having to answer to, and maybe pressing to get off to a good start, and it doesn’t happen, and then having to answer about not getting a hit, and all those things that were going on with him the first couple of weeks. I think now you see a little more confident guy at the plate.”
Hyde likes what he’s seeing, but he’s not contemplating a move up in the order for Davis.
“I think CD is feeling more confident,” Hyde said. “He’s feeling more comfortable. Kind of letting the game happen now instead of forcing the issue. Great to see.”
Davis has batted seventh in 12 games, and sixth in three, and that’s where he’ll stay for now.
“I’m really comfortable with where he is now,” Hyde said. “I love having guys that can do damage in the bottom third of the lineup, so the way the lineup is kind of constructed right now…you want your high OPS guys and you want your guys that are going to generate runs at the top. I want those guys to get the most at-bats.
“I always, from the first day, I wanted to get CD in a comfortable spot to try and get him going. It might happen. I don’t think it’s going to happen tomorrow. We’ll see, but I love the way he’s swinging the bat right now.”
Karns update: Nate Karns threw a bullpen session on Tuesday, and he’ll likely pitch for Triple-A Norfolk in the next few days, Hyde said. Karns is on the 10-day injured list with right forearm tightness. Karns had one difficult outing for the Tides on Saturday when he retired one batter, but allowed three to score.