CHICAGO -- Brian Matusz is quickly gaining the confidence of his new manager.
Matusz pitched seven sharp innings and Brian Roberts homered as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 4-2 on Wednesday night.Matusz (6-12) held the White Sox to one run on three hits. He struck out five and walked one."Especially when you're playing them in their ballpark in the middle of a pennant race and every game means that much to them, it's impressive," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.The 22-year-old lefty backed up a fine outing in his last start on Aug. 19. In 4-0 win over the Texas Rangers, he allowed five hits over a career high-tying eight innings, walking one and striking out six.This time, his fastball was th key pitch."I was able to throw it for strikes, in and out. Mixing it up. The slider felt good," Matusz said. "To have that consistency and to be locked in a little bit is a good feeling."Matusz finished his outing by getting Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pierzynski to hit three infield pop outs in the seventh."I thought his most impressive inning was the seventh. Those are the kind of things that young pitchers can reach back for as they go forward in their careers and know they're capable of doing it," Showalter said.Matt Wieters doubled and drove in two runs for the Orioles.Mark Buehrle (12-10) was wilder than usual, and the White Sox lost for the 11th time in 16 games. Their lone run off Matusz came on a solo homer by Gordon Beckham in the sixth.With two outs in the Chicago ninth, Konerko singled and Quentin tripled -- left fielder Corey Patterson tried to make a leaping catch, but the ball glanced off his glove and hit the wall hard.Koji Uehara rebounded by striking out Pierzynski for his second save of the season.The White Sox have struggled against the American League's worst team. Earlier in the month, Baltimore took three of four games from Chicago."The difference between the Orioles now and in the past is that they're pitching well, at least against us," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "When we played them in Baltimore, all of their starters went deep into the game and we're not really swinging the bat well against them. People expect we're going to sweep them, but that's a big league club against us out there."The White Sox failed to gain ground on the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. The Twins lost to Texas and hold a 3½-game lead.Buehrle was lifted after pitching seven innings. He allowed four runs on six hits. He normally commands the strike zone, but this time he walked four."Two leadoff walks and two runs scored on that and we lost by two and I think that kind of explains everything," said Buehrle.Despite the outcome, Buehrle says he has not felt better this late in the season."This is the best I've pitched late in the season. I've showed I've struggled in the second half a lot in my career. I went out there and I felt strong and my pitch count got up there tonight and I still felt strong in the seventh inning, so all that stuff I did in the offseason is paying off but it wasn't enough tonight," he said.The Orioles took the lead in the fifth. Buehrle walked Felix Pie, Wieters hit an RBI double and Patterson singled home a run.Buehrle gave up a leadoff walk to Ty Wigginton in the sixth, and Pie's single and Wieters' sacrifice fly gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead.Roberts tagged Buehrle for a home run in seventh. In 125 at-bats this season, Roberts has hit three home runs, two of them coming against White Sox, including a game-winner on Aug. 9.
Before the game, the White Sox put relievers Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz on the 15-day disabled list, leaving their bullpen a bit short on experience. They recalled right-hander Lucas Harrell from Triple-A Charlotte and reinstated lefty Erick Threets from the disabled list following a rehab assignment in the minors. Threets pitched two scoreless innings. ... Beckham homered in his second straight game.
23,733 (58.4% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
71 degrees, partly cloudy
Home Plate - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - Fieldin Culbreth, Third Base - Marty Foster
How Orioles starter Brian Matusz beat the White Sox:
- Matusz's success started and ended with the fastball:
- 78 of his 117 pitches were fastballs (highest this season).
- No hits allowed on the heater (first time all season)
- Season high 15 outs (9 FLY, 3 GB, 3 K)
- Threw 48 of the 78 fastballs away, leading to 3 K and 8 outs total
- Changed levels in the zone (36 up, 34 down, 8 middle), retiring a minimum of 4 in each zone.