BALTIMORE (AP) — White Sox rookie Dylan Axelrod took a three-hitter into the eighth inning and Chicago spoiled the Baltimore debut of Joe Saunders, scoring seven runs off the left-hander in an 8-1 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday night.
Gordon Beckham had three hits and three RBIs to help Chicago snap a five-game road losing streak. Alexei Ramirez went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and scored twice for the White Sox, who will seek a split of the four-game series on Thursday.
Omar Quintanilla drove in the lone run for the Orioles, whose four-game winning streak ended. Baltimore remained 3 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
Axelrod (2-2) allowed one run, three hits and four walks in 7 1/3 innings to earn his third career win. Recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to replace injured Gavin Floyd, the right-hander retired 13 straight batters before a one-out walk in the eighth ended his night.
Obtained on Sunday in a trade that sent reliever Matt Lindstrom to Arizona, Saunders (0-1) gave up 10 hits and six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He yielded four runs in the first and never once retired the side in order.
Saunders, who grew up an Orioles fan in northern Virginia, fell to 3-1 lifetime at Camden Yards. Baltimore is his third stop in a major league career that began in 2005 with the Angels.
The Orioles’ success of late and the prospect of seeing Saunders’ debut barely caused a ripple at the turnstiles: The game drew a crowd of 13,098.
Saunders launched the Baltimore portion of his career with a wretched first inning. Dewayne Wise singled on Saunders’ second pitch and Kevin Youkilis hit a fly ball to the warning track in center before Adam Dunn walked. After Paul Konerko got an infield hit, Alex Rios hit a two-run double and Ramirez singled in two runs.
Chicago added an unearned run in the fourth when Beckham hit an RBI double after Matt Wieters dropped a foul pop behind the plate.
Baltimore closed to 5-1 in the bottom half when Wieters doubled, took third on a fly ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Quintanilla, his career-high 16th RBI of the season.
Saunders was pulled after the White Sox opened the sixth with two singles and a sacrifice. Beckham greeted Kevin Gregg with a two-run single.
An RBI single by Dayan Viciedo made it 8-1 in the seventh.
NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter shot down the notion of prized pitching prospect Dylan Bundy joining the club when rosters expand on Sept. 1. Showalter said he wants the 19-year-old to focus on pitching for Double-A Bowie in the playoffs before participating in the instructional league. … Chicago’s A.J. Pierzynski wasn’t in the starting lineup, but manager Robin Ventura said the catcher would start in the series finale. Pierzynski is hitless in his last 14 at-bats and 5 for 31 over his last 10 games. … White Sox RHP Jake Peavy is still expected to start in Detroit on Friday despite being hindered by an eye infection. … Baltimore has been outscored 80-48 in the first inning this season. … Inserted as a defensive replacement in the seventh, Chicago 3B Ray Olmedo promptly made an outstanding stop on Mark Reynolds’ grounder down the line, then threw him out.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)