CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Wieters is starting to figure things out at the plate, and that’s not good news for opposing pitchers.
The Orioles’ catcher homered and drove in four runs Friday night as Baltimore beat the Chicago White Sox 10-4 in the series opener.
Wieters hit the ball well in his first two at-bats, but found himself 0 for 2 with two fly outs when he came to bat in the sixth inning.
With a 3-0 count and a runner on, Wieters delivered a two-run shot off of Chicago starter John Danks to give Baltimore a 5-3 lead.
“Matty had a lot of yardage on his fly balls … he finally got a hold of one,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s in a good spot right now.”
Wieters doubled in two more runs in a five-run seventh to help the Orioles put things out of reach.
A “3-0 might be your best chance to get a fastball and get something straight,” the 24-year-old catcher said. “I probably should have taken it.”
Starter Jake Arrieta (3-1) pitched five innings for the win but was pulled early due to right hip soreness, though he said after the game the injury was not serious.
“Physically I didn’t feel good tonight. I wanted to stay in but they made the call,” Arrieta said. “You’re going to have those days. I had to battle.”
Arrieta gave up three runs in the second inning before settling down and keeping the White Sox in check. He gave up five hits and two walks, striking out two.
The loss was the 13th in the last 16 games for Chicago, which slipped to 10-17 overall.
“It’s frustrating, there’s no other word for it,” said Danks, who fell to 0-4 after giving up five earned runs on eight hits.
“We’re all putting the work in and there’s no reason why it’s not going our way.
“There’s still plenty of time to bounce back in it.” Danks added. “(But) if we go too much longer, it isn’t early … We need
to turn around quick.”
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended by Major League Baseball before the game after an ejection and derogatory comments made on Twitter earlier in the week. Bench coach Joey Cora managed in his place.
The White Sox opened a 3-0 second inning lead as A.J. Pierzynski lined a 2-0 pitch from Arrieta to right for a two-run home run.
With one out, Mark Teahen doubled and scored on Juan Pierre’s bloop single to left. Danks gave up a pair of third inning runs, first on a one-out RBI single by Brian Roberts that scored Mark Reynolds. Derrek Lee’s two-out single to right then scored Robert Andino.
Luke Scott tied it at 3 in the third with a homer to right, his fourth of the season.
Wieters gave the Orioles a 5-3 lead in the sixth with his fourth homer.
Brent Lillibridge hit his second home run in the sixth. He lined a 1-1 pitch off reliever Clay Rapada to left-center to trim the Oriole lead to 5-4.
Danks left in favor of reliever Jesse Crain after six innings. He gave up five earned runs on 8 hits, walked one and struck out three.
The Orioles sent 11 batters to the plate in a five-run seventh. They loaded the bases and Crain walked in one run with two out before being relieved by left-hander Chris Sale. Wieters greeted Sale with a double to right that scored two runs for a 8-4 lead.
Roberts then singled home another run.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)