BALTIMORE – Adam Jones put it succinctly.
“You need a win. It doesn’t matter how it comes, when it comes. It’s September,” Jones said.
Coming off a horrendous road trip to Boston, New York and Cleveland where they lost six of nine, the Orioles desperately needed a win, and Miguel Gonzalez delivered.
Gonzalez allowed one run on four hits in seven innings to earn his first win since July 20 as the Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 before 17,383 at Oriole Park on Thursday night.
The Orioles’ score will be scrutinized only slightly more than the attendance figure, which was higher than many predicted because of the conflict with the Ravens game in Denver.
Because Gonzalez sped through seven innings and the Ravens were delayed because of weather, Chicago was about to come to bat in the eight before the game in Denver began.
Jones, J.J. Hardy and Brian Roberts had solo home runs off Jose Quintana (7-6). Jones and Hardy’s were statistically significant. It was Jones’ 30th of the season, and he reached 100 RBIs for the first time. Hardy’s was his 25th.
“Cool feat, you know. You play the game for team success, but also individual success comes with that,” Jones said.
Manager Buck Showalter raved about Hardy’s play in the field rather than at bat.
“It's an honor to watch him play shortstop every night. He's the most fundamentally sound shortstop I've ever had. Maybe I've ever seen," Showalter said.
Hardy tried to deflect the personal attention.
“For me it’s not a time to think about the personal stuff. After the season I might reflect on it, but right now we need to win ballgames and if it helps to win the ballgame then it is great,” he said.
Gonzalez had eight straight starts where he allowed three or fewer runs in six or more innings, but since his last win, he had three of his worst starts as a big leaguer.
On five days rest, where he shines statistically, Gonzalez allowed the run on four hits, striking out six and walking one.
“It was fun to be out there and be able to go a little bit deeper than in other games and getting that win, that was important for us, especially the way we’ve been going out there and playing,” Gonzalez said.
Jones hit his home run in the first, giving the Orioles (74-65) a 1-0 lead.
The White Sox (56-83), who lost for the seventh straight time, tied the score off Gonzalez in the third. Conor Gillaspie and Dayan Viciedo led off with singles and Bryan Anderson walked to load the bases. Alejandro De Aza hit into a double play, and Gillaspie scored.
After the third inning, Gonzalez (9-7) allowed just two more hits. He threw 100 pitches through seven.
“It was kind of like he was on a mission tonight,” Showalter said.
Tommy Hunter allowed one hit in a scoreless eighth and Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for his 42nd save.
In the fifth, Hardy homered to left. It was his 25th of the season and he became the fourth active player to hit that many in three seasons as a shortstop. Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada and Troy Tulowitzki are the others.
Roberts homered with two outs, his fourth, and the Orioles led 3-1. The team’s last 10 runs have come on homers.
“They're all significant from here on out just because of the opportunities that are not there. If we take care of business, it will be an interesting last week of the season,” Showalter said.
The game won, Showalter reflected on the larger-than-expected crowd.
“It does mean something to us, but it shouldn't affect the way we play or the intensity we bring. But it makes it easier with the support we've had last year, this year and in the past. We had people come out and support us when we weren't very good, too,” Showalter said.
“I'd be supporting the Ravens, too. I am tonight. I'm going back and watch the game. I'm also going to glance over at a couple other games
NOTES: Aberdeen, the only Orioles affiliate still playing, hosts its first-ever playoff game on Friday night against Tri-City.
The Streak Thru Aberdeen 7K, originally scheduled for Friday, has been rescheduled for Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at Cal Sr.’s Yard at the Ripken Experience complex in Aberdeen. Information on the run is available at CharmCityRun.com.
-The slumping Nick Markakis did not start, but was a defensive replacement for Michael Morse in the eighth inning.
-Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin has joined the team for at least some of this month.
-The crowd of 17,383 put the Orioles over the 2 million mark.
-Scott Feldman (4-4, 4.18) faces John Danks (4-11, 4.35) on Friday night.