BALTIMORE – The White Sox had just dropped their eighth straight game to fall deeper into the AL Central cellar, and someone asked manager Robin Ventura if his players might be putting too much pressure on themselves to win.
“I don’t think they’re pressing,” Ventura said after a 4-0 loss to Baltimore on Friday night. “It’s just the way it is. I don’t know what there is to press for.”
The Sox don’t have much left to play for this season, and at this juncture it’s clear they are no match for teams in pursuit of a playoff berth. The Sox fell to 0-8 on a road trip that began with three losses in Boston and three more at Yankee Stadium.
The Sox have scored only one run in the first two games of this series, which runs through Sunday.
In this one, Scott Feldman (5-4) pitched a five-hitter for his first career shutout and second complete game. The right-hander walked one, struck out three and allowed only one runner past first base.
“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Ventura said. “We got a couple hits here and there, but nothing with anything on it. Even when we got some guys on, we couldn’t really do anything with it.”
Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 48th home run, and Danny Valencia and Matt Wieters also connected for the Orioles. All three homers came off John Danks (4-12).
“The few mistakes I made, they hit them out of the ballpark,” said Danks, who allowed four runs and seven hits in 51/3 innings.
Davis moved within two homers of tying Brady Anderson for the single-season club record. The drive gave Davis 123 RBIs, second-most in the majors behind Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (130).
The Orioles lead the majors with 191 home runs, which is the main reason why they’re still in the thick of the playoff chase. It was the second day in a row that Baltimore hit three solo shots.
“I think it’s just a combination of guys feeling a little bit of urgency and being aggressive in the right spots,” Davis said. “Nobody’s going up there expecting to hit home runs or trying to hit home runs. I think the biggest thing is trying to get a pitch to drive and letting the bat kind of take over. This is obviously a big point in the year for us. We need to win as many games as possible and the fact that guys are stepping up big in these spots is huge.”
Danks retired the first eight batters he faced, all on balls in the air. Then Valencia hit a liner into the left-field seats to put the Orioles up 1-0. It was the 15th consecutive run scored by Baltimore via the home run.
Chicago missed a chance to pull even in the fourth when Jeff Keppinger was thrown out by center fielder Adam Jones while trying to score on a two-out single by Paul Konerko. Replays indicated Keppinger got his hand on the plate before Wieters made the tag.
“I thought I beat him to the plate,” Keppinger said. “I thought I got my hand in there. It happens. It seems like we have a lot of calls go that way lately.”
Danks didn’t get his first groundball out until the fifth inning, when Michael Morse hit into a double play following singles by J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis. Valencia followed with an infield hit down the third-base line for a 2-0 lead.
Davis and Wieters homered in succession in the sixth, chasing Danks. Davis was 0 for 12 lifetime against Danks before a single in the fourth.
Wieters’ homer was his 21st, the 20th as a catcher. He is the first player in Orioles history to have three straight seasons with 20 home runs as a catcher, according to the team.
NOTES: The White Sox activated RH reliever Ramon Troncoso from the DL and outrighted RHP Jhan Marinez to Triple-A Charlotte. ... Baltimore purchased the contract of OF Chris Dickerson from Triple-A Norfolk and designated INF Alex Liddi for assignment. ... Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound for the Orioles on Saturday. Hector Santiago will pitch for the White Sox. ... Keppinger got two hits off Feldman and is 6 for 11 lifetime against him. ... Jones is 1 for 30 lifetime against Danks. ... Hardy has hit in six straight games, going 10 for 20 during that span.