BALTIMORE — An unusual, second-chance home run enabled the Baltimore Orioles to put a satisfying finish on a homestand that began with four straight defeats.
Stevie Wilkerson hit his first major league homer , John Means pitched five effective innings on his birthday and the Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3 Wednesday night to secure their second winning streak of the season.
After dropping three in a row to the Twins and opening against Chicago with a 12-2 loss, the Orioles won the next two games against the White Sox to capture their first series since April 1-3 in Toronto. The two successive victories are Baltimore’s most since a four-game run that began at Yankee Stadium on March 30, and improved its record at Camden Yards to 3-10.
“We haven’t been playing our best baseball here at home,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought we played better on the road, so it’s nice to play a couple really good games here.”
Wilkerson’s solo shot off Ervin Santana (0-2) put the Orioles up 4-1 in the fourth. Earlier in the at-bat, Wilkerson walked to first base after apparently being hit by a pitch, but the White Sox challenged the call and, following a replay, the call was overturned.
“It wasn’t a surprise,” Wilkerson said.
Three pitches later, he capped his 53rd big league at-bat by sending a hanging slider into the centre-field bleachers.
“It felt good to round the bases,” Wilkerson said. “It was a weird at-bat before that.”
Making his third major league start, Means (3-2) marked his 26th birthday with a career-high six strikeouts. The lefty allowed one run and four hits.
Mychal Givens worked the final two innings for his first save. After allowing an RBI double to Jose Abreu in the ninth, Givens threw a wild pitch before striking out James McCann.
The right-hander then got Yoan Moncada to hit a two-out grounder to shortstop Richie Martin, who made a nice grab moving to his left before throwing to first. Martin had entered as a defensive replacement in the top of the inning.
“Heck of a play,” Hyde said.
Chicago manager Rick Renteria said, “We had a nice run of guys that were going to give us an opportunity. We just fell short. Yoan put a good swing on that pitch.”
Still trying to regain the form that enabled him to win 16 games for Minnesota in 2017, Santana gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings. The 36-year-old has a 9.45 ERA in three starts with Chicago after going winless last year during an injury-riddled season with the Twins.
“I’m going to take the positive from that outing to the next one,” the right-hander said. “That’s the main key for me. I’m getting there.”
The Orioles went up 2-0 in the first when Dwight Smith Jr. and Renato Nunez hit successive two-out doubles and Rio Ruiz delivered an RBI single.
Down 4-1, the White Sox got a run in the sixth and threatened for more. After Baltimore reliever Evan Phillips hit Ryan Cordell with a pitch to force in a run, Jose Rondon struck out and Paul Fry came in to retire pinch-hitter Nicky Delmonico on a grounder.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis missed the game to tend to a personal matter, Hyde said. He is expected to rejoin the team in Minnesota on Friday.
The Orioles obtained minor league infielder Ryne Ogren from Seattle for right-hander Mike Wright, who was designated for assignment by Baltimore on Sunday.
Wright was 0-1 with a 9.45 ERA this year and 10-12 lifetime over five seasons.
Ogren, 22, was drafted in the 12th round by the Mariners in 2018. The Orioles assigned him to Class A Delmarva.
White Sox: Starter Lucas Giolito (hamstring) will throw from the mound on Friday. Renteria said, “As long as he’s doing well and we’re comfortable, he’ll be back sometime soon.” … John Jay (groin) took batting practice and was throwing on Wednesday. There is no timetable for his return.
Orioles: RHP Nate Karns (forearm tightness) will make a rehab appearance Thursday with Class AA Bowie.
White Sox: After taking Thursday off, Chicago starts Carlos Rodon (3-2, 2.89 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Detroit Tigers.
Orioles: Following an off day Thursday, Baltimore begins a three-game series in Minnesota. The Orioles haven’t defeated the Twins since the 2018 season opener.