BALTIMORE – Scott Feldman isn’t used to pitching complete games, let alone shutouts. The Orioles aren’t used to seeing them, either.
On Friday night, Feldman threw the first Orioles complete game since June 16, 2012, and his first-ever shutout.
He threw 106 pitches, allowing just five hits and walk, striking out three as the Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 4-0 before 26,253 at Oriole Park.
The 30-year-old Feldman, who the Orioles acquired from the Cubs on July 2, had just one complete games in 126 major league starts, and that came on May 1. He said he hadn’t pitched one since college.
“I definitely wanted it, but the big thing this time of the year – it doesn’t matter how many innings you go – it matters who wins the game. All that other stuff is great, but we won the game. We won the first two and hopefully we can keep playing well,” Feldman said.
Feldman (5-4) pitched the Orioles (75-65) to their second straight win against the sad-sack White Sox (56-84), who have lost eight straight.
“He had command of all his pitches. He'd get ahead in the count. I don't think he ever got in a pattern,” manager Buck Showalter said.
The Orioles were the last major league team this season to throw a complete game.
When the ninth inning began, Showalter had Jim Johnson and Brian Matusz warming in the bullpen, but Feldman methodically retired Chicago in the ninth.
“I think they all swung at the first or second pitch. It was one of those nights when they hit the ball in the air it seemed like it was at guys or they were able to run it down and make nice plays,” Feldman said.
It was the first Orioles shutout since Chris Tillman, Tommy Hunter and Johnson combined for one on July 26 and the first complete game since Jason Hammel’s one-hitter last season.
For the second straight night, the Orioles hit three home runs. Danny Valencia, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters hit solo shots. Davis hit his major league-leading 48th homer.
After John Danks (4-12) retired the first eight Orioles hitters, Valencia hit his seventh home run of the year for the first run in the third.
In the fourth, Jeff Keppinger singled with one out, and tried to score on Paul Konerko’s two-out single. Adam Jones’ throw to plate was on target and Wieters tagged Keppinger out though replays indicated Keppinger may have been safe.
That ended up saving a shutout for Feldman (5-4), who retired his final eight batters and didn’t allow a hit over the last four innings.
We had some breaks go our way tonight that we haven't had it seems like in a while,” Showalter said.
J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis began the fifth with singles off Danks. Hardy moved to third when Michael Morse hit into a double play and scored on Valencia’s infield single.
Chris Davis hit his 48th home run with one out in the sixth and Matt Wieters followed with his 21st.
It was the fourth time this season the Orioles have hit back-to-back home runs.
Davis needs two home runs to equal Brady Anderson’s club record of 50 set in 1996. Frank Robinson had 49 in 1966. He hadn’t had a home run or RBI since Aug. 28.
“Towards the end of the season when you’re in a pennant race, you’re not going to get fastballs right down the middle, and I think that especially at the end of the season, the games are so close, you see one-run games. We’ve been able to score runs via the home run, but a lot of times, that’s not the case. You scrap to get guys on, you move them over, and you try to get them in, but I think there are a lot of factors, end of the season, fatigue, the fact that pitchers are being a little bit more careful with our entire lineup, not just me,” Davis said.
The Orioles need the home runs and wins with barely three weeks left and a wild-card berth still possible.
“We have 20-some odd games left. We know we have to win as many as we can and I said it last year this time, we can’t count on other teams to lose for us to get in,” Davis said.
NOTES: Tsuyoshi Wada remains in Sarasota, Fla. in case the Orioles need him.
“He’s down there now, we’ll see if there is a need,” Showalter said. “A lot of it has got to do with our competitive situation going forth the rest of the season.”
-Wieters is the first Orioles catcher to hit 20 home runs in three consecutive seasons.
-Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.87) faces Hector Santiago (4-8, 3.43) on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m.