Walks cost Sox pitchers in defeat

One-run games are often won by the team that makes the fewest mistakes, and that was the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.

The Chicago White Sox did themselves in during their 4-3 road loss when three of their pitchers combined to walk seven hitters over eight innings. Francisco Liriano walked four in five innings, Jesse Crain walked two in one inning and Brett Myers walked one in two innings.

Liriano’s control was suspect from the start. But despite allowing four hits and two walks in the first two innings, the Orioles gave him a break and scored just once due to two base-running errors. They first tried to score on a wild pitch and were caught at home, and then a runner got too far off base on a line drive and was doubled up with the bases loaded.

Liriano settled down for a bit, but his problems arose again in the sixth inning. He gave up a walk and a single to the inning’s first two hitters, and White Sox manager Robin Ventura turned to Crain in relief.

“I got to eliminate those walks,” said Liriano, who has walked three or more hitters in four of his six starts for the White Sox. “I have to make some better pitches and get ahead of the count and not do too much and just throw more strikes.”

Crain wasn’t any better. He walked the first two hitters he faced, and the Orioles were handed a run. It was the third consecutive appearance where Crain had less than his best stuff. He previously allowed a home run in 1 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees on Aug. 21 and allowed three runs in a 1/3 inning to the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 19.

Myers was sharp when he first came in, but he walked Mark Reynolds in the eighth inning, and Nate McLouth made him pay for it with the game-winning home run.

Myers was as upset with the walk as he was with the home run. It was just his fourth walk in 20 appearances since joining the White Sox.

“I can’t walk a guy in that situation,” Myers said. “It came back and bit me in the rear. … I made a mistake (to McLouth) and he got it. I’d like to get it back, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.”

Monday marked the third time in the last eight games the White Sox’s staff combined for seven walks. They lost 5-2 to the Royals on Aug. 19 and defeated the Yankees 9-6 on Aug. 20 after walking seven hitters. Their team high is nine walks in a game this season.