Morel makes mark with bat and glove

BALTIMORE – The box score says Brent Morel drove in two runs Tuesday, but he really should get credit for one more.

Morel had an RBI single in the second inning and a solo home run in the fourth inning, but the run that might have mattered most was the one the Orioles weren’t able to score in the seventh inning because of the White Sox’s rookie third baseman.

With a runner on third base and one out, the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy hit a hard ground ball to Morel’s left. He appeared to dive early, but while already low to the ground Morel used his quick hands to short-hop the ball. He then scrambled to his feet to make the play at first base for the second out.

Will Ohman then came on to strike out Nick Markakis swinging to end the threat. The Orioles wouldn’t score again.

Manager Ozzie Guillen was asked what he liked better, Morel’s offense or defense.

“Defense comes up huge because without defense, you’re not going to win that many games,” Guillen said. “You’re going to help the pitching staff. But the way we’re hitting all year long, I think our offense is very important. I think our offense was kind of quiet, but lately we got a couple key hits and Morel came up with big ones.”

Morel’s rookie season has not been without its rough patches. His on-base percentage is an unattractive .277 and Tuesday’s log ball was just his second home run of the season. But his defense has remained steady.

“Going out there you knew the guys were battling and going through a couple of pitching changes there and just trying to make a play,” Morel said. “They did a good job getting a guy on, leadoff double and bunting him over and it felt good to make a good play and get out of that inning with no runs scored.”