BALTIMORE—As the Orioles head into their four-day All-Star break, they’ll have much to forget about the first half of the 2021 season, and not much to look forward to in the final 73 games.
On Sunday, they lost their fourth straight game, 7-5, to the Chicago White Sox in 10 innings before an announced crowd of 11,600 at Oriole Park.
It was their eighth straight loss to the White Sox (54-35) and their 11th series sweep.
The Orioles’ 28-61 record extrapolates to 51-111 for a full season. Unlike many games in the first half, the Orioles came from behind, only to delay the inevitable.
Trey Mancini, who’ll participate in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, tied it at 4 with a pinch-hit, two-out, two-run homer against All-Star closer Liam Hendriks (4-2) in the ninth.
“I just wanted to continue the game in some form or fashion,” Mancini said. “I did a good job. I have not been doing a great job at this for a little while now, but I’m just focusing on the ball, not worried about my mechanics over the plate, my timing, things like that. I just focused on the ball, putting a good swing on it.
“There was nothing to lose. I’ll just take that into the second half of the season.”
Ryan McKenna singled just before Mancini’s homer, the Orioles’ first hit since the first inning, when Cedric Mullins dropped a bunt single and Austin Hays followed with a home run on the first two pitches from White Sox starter Dylan Cease.
Mancini had been given the day off by manager Brandon Hyde.
“You don’t really check out, I’d say,” Mancini said. “[Hyde] texted me yesterday that he was going to give me a day going into the break. It’s been a very long month or so for me, very, very up-and-down at times, but I texted him yesterday: ‘If you need me in a big spot, I’ll be ready.’
“So, I was ready, I was preparing the entire game for a situation like that.”
In the 10th, just after Brandon Hyde visited the mound to talk with Tyler Wells (2-1), Adam Engel hit a three-run home run to give Chicago (54-35) a three-run lead.
Against Chicago reliever José Ruiz, Mullins hit a sacrifice fly to score Pedro Severino, the automatic runner in the 10th. Kelvin Gutierrez’s double sent Severino to third. Austin Hays walked, and Matt Foster retired Anthony Santander on a fly to left and DJ Stewart on a deep fly to center. It was Foster’s first save.
“Our at-bats in the ninth and the 10th were really good,” Hyde said. “We hadn’t had a hit for a long time. It was tough to score two runs there. It was a tough loss. You love to see guys battle back in those type of games.”
Two batters after Mullins’ bunt single and Hays’ home run, Ryan Mountcastle was hit by a pitch from Cease in the left forearm. He stayed in the game long enough to take second on a wild pitch and third on a throwing error by catcher Seby Zavala before coming out of the game for the second. Pat Valaika replaced him at first base.
Mountcastle has a bruised left forearm. X-rays were negative. Hyde said he anticipated Mountcastle will be able to play when the Oriole return from their All-Star break on Friday in Kansas City.
In his second major league start, Spenser Watkins had a fortunate first two innings. With runners on first and second and one out in the first, Brian Goodwin lined to Hays in right field, and he threw out Yoán Moncada trying to advance to third for the final out.
In the second, Watkins caught Engel on second base breaking toward third and threw him out as he tried to return to second.
Chicago loaded the bases int the third on a double by Zavala and walks to Moncada and José Abreu before Goodwin lined to Mullins in center, ending the inning. Watkins threw 36 pitches in that inning.
Andrew Vaughn hit his ninth home run with one out in the fourth. It traveled 447 feet, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 2-1.
Paul Fry replaced Watkins after he recorded the first out of the fifth inning. Watkins had gone through the batting order twice and allowed a run on four hits, walking three and striking out four.
“Numbers are one thing, but if I can go out consistently, take a big chunk of innings, give my team a chance to win continuously, then that’s a positive for me,” Watkins said.
Fry got through the fifth without damage, but in the sixth hit Engel with one out and walked Leury Garcia before Cole Sulser gave up Vaughn’s three-run homer to give the White Sox a 4-2 lead.
Mancini gets ready for Home Run Derby: On Monday night, Mancini will be matched against Oakland’s Matt Olson in the first round of the Home Run Derby at Denver’s Coors Field.
“No expectations or predictions,” Mancini said. “I’m just going to try to enjoy it. It’s surreal. It’s something that I hadn’t really thought about too much since we play up until the day before.
“Now I can turn my attention to it a little bit, and I’m really excited.”
Mancini’s pitcher will be Notre Dame pitching coach Chuck Ristano.
“It’s really cool that after promising him that he’d be out there if it ever did happen,” Mancini said. “It’s pretty cool that it’s becoming a reality, and we’re both going to enjoy it tomorrow.”
Orioles in Futures Game: Bowie catcher Adley Rutschman was 0-for-1 with a walk and Norfolk reliever Marcos Díplan allowed two runs on two hits, striking out one in 1/3 of an inning in the American League’s 8-3 loss to the National League in the Futures Game in Denver.
Notes: Hyde said that shortstop Freddy Galvis, who’s on the 10-day injured list because of a right quadriceps strain, is improving. “Freddy is going to start rehabbing in Sarasota in a few days,” Hyde said. “He’s going to take ground balls, starting his running progression, hoping to have him back by the end of the month.” … Relief pitcher Hunter Harvey, who’s on the injured list because of a lat strain is also doing well, according to Hyde. “Initially, I was concerned it was going to be a while. It doesn’t sound like it is. We hope to have him back by the end of the month. Good news on both of those guys,” Hyde said. … The Orioles haven’t set their starting rotation for the three-game series in Kansas City that begins Friday. … McKenna played third base in the 10th inning, the first time he’s played the infield as a professional.