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CHICAGO—Five batters into his third major league start, Grayson Rodriguez was teetering. The Orioles were down, 4-0. Rodriguez stiffened and held the Chicago White Sox scoreless over the next four innings.
The Orioles were able to crawl back into the game, and with a three-run eighth, recorded a series win in brutal conditions. At game time, the temperature was 43 degrees and seemed much colder. The White Sox announced the attendance as 13,794, but there were far fewer on hand.
An RBI single by Cedric Mullins put the Orioles (9-7) ahead in their 8-4 win over Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday.
Jorge Mateo led off the eighth with a double against Aaron Bummer (0-1) stole third, his eighth of the season. Ryan McKenna walked, and Mullins’ single scored Mateo. Adley Rutschman was walked intentionally.
Ryan Mountcastle appeared to single to left but Mullins, thinking the ball would be caught, went back toward second and was out at third as McKenna scored on the forc out. Rutschman scored on a single by Anthony Santander, and the Orioles led, 7-4.
“I’m so happy with our at-bats today,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “And we hit the ball hard, too. A lot of really good walks, a lot of really good at-bats. Stealing bases … Mateo and Mullins the way they swung the bat.
“It might be the best offensive series I’ve seen Mateo have, how hard he’s hitting the baseball, how exciting he’s been. He’s playing great baseball now, and Ced had a great series, also.”
Mullins added an RBI single in the eighth, his fourth RBI.
“Obviously, it was a drastic change in temperature today from the past couple of days,” Mullins said. “For us to go out there and handle business was huge for us.”
Mullins was 6-for-11 with six walks in the three-game series.
“The fact that I was drawing a lot of walks in a short time span meant that the eye was working,” Mullins said. “It was just a matter of the eye trying to catch up, and today I was able to do so.”
Mike Baumann (2-0) pitched two hitless innings. Austin Voth worked a spotless eighth and Félix Bautista pitched the ninth.
The White Sox (6-10) started quickly against Rodriguez and led 4-0 after five batters. Gavin Sheets hit a three-run home run, and two batters later, Jake Burger homered. Burger hit a home run in each of the three games this weekend.
“After that inning, just dialing it in attacking the zone a little bit better,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think anybody likes it when it’s cold and rainy, but getting used to it after the first inning, it really wasn’t that bad. I was able to block it all out.”
As he did in his first game against Texas, Rodriguez was a better pitcher after the first inning, pitching four scoreless innings on three hits. He struck out eight, six on changeups, walked two and threw 93 pitches.
“I’m so happy with how he settled in,” Hyde said. “It could have really unraveled on him. I thought he did a great job, him and Adley both, making some adjustments there after that first inning.
“I thought his changeup got really good and they were aggressive early on him in the first inning, and he did a really good job of pitching after that. Great learning experience. For him to go five innings after that first inning was massive for us. He wasn’t real sharp early. This is his third start in the big leagues.”
Hyde didn’t consider going to the bullpen in the first inning, even with long relievers Voth and Spenser Watkins available and an offday on Monday.
“I was hoping [Rodriguez] was going to get through a few,” Hyde said. “Fortunately for us, he went five innings.”
Rodriguez knows he has to improve on staying away from a big inning, something that hurt in spring training and in his three major league starts.
“Starting the game off [with] a little better pace is something we’re going to work on this week before the next start,” he said. “We’re going to prepare a little bit differently, ultimately eliminating that inning in the starts from here on out.”
The Orioles scored three times against Dylan Cease in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Mateo and a two-run triple by Mullins. An error by Burger at third on a ground ball by Terrin Vavra extended the inning, enabling Mullins to hit.
The Orioles tied the score when Gunnar Henderson scored on a wild pitch by Cease in the top of the sixth.
After two games with temperatures in the 70s, Mullins was prepared for the conditions.
“I think I actually played in sleet before. This was just a little bit of rain, and I was double-layered up, ready to go,” Mullins said.
Notes: The Orioles are off on Monday and play the first of two games against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night. Dean Kremer (0-0, 9.49) will face Josiah Gray (0-3, 4.32). … Hyde said he expected that left-hander Keegan Akin, who has been on the paternity list this weekend, will return on Tuesday. Yennier Cano, who replaced Akin on the roster, has impressed with 2 2/3 hitless innings. “That’s what we need. We need bullpen guys to step up the way he has been, pitching in huge spots right away against the toughest part of their order. You see the swings the sinker gets when it’s on the plate. Showed a good slider, too. That’s been a pleasant part of this series what he’s done on the mound.” … Bautista pitched on Thursday and Friday. Hyde said there was no consideration given to pitching him with a one-run lead in the 10th inning on Saturday. “Absolutely not,” Hyde said. … The rain delay was the first this season. … The Orioles walked seven times on Sunday and 26 times in the series.
Urías update: Ramón Urías sat out the game after he was hit by a pitch in the head by Chicago’s Kendall Graveman on Saturday. Hyde said he has a head bruise, and he’s feeling better.
“It’s right behind the ear. He’s got a big bruise and welt right behind the left ear,” Hyde said.
Hyde said he had “no idea” whether Urías would be ready for Tuesday’s game.
“He’s still going through some testing.” Hyde said.
Minor league update: Shortstop Joey Ortiz had three hits and drove in two runs, Josh Lester hit his fifth home run as Triple-A Norfolk beat Nashville, 7-1. Drew Rom (2-0) allowed two hits in five scoreless innings.
Garrett Stallings threw six scoreless innings, allowing two hits in Double-A Bowie’s 4-2 loss to Akron in 10 innings. Nolan Hoffman allowed two runs in the 10th.
Catcher Andrew Retzbach hit a two-run home run as High-A Aberdeen beat Hudson Valley, 5-4. Keagan Gillies pitched two hitless innings, striking out four for the win.
First baseman Max Costes and catcher Creed Willems homered in Single-A Delmarva’s 5-4 loss to Kannapolis. It was Willems’ fourth home run of the season.
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