CHICAGO (AP) — Allowing home runs has become a nagging problem for Baltimore starter Jason Hammel.
It resurfaced Tuesday at the wrong time for the Orioles.
Adam Dunn and Conor Gillaspie homered while John Danks pitched into the eighth inning to help the Chicago White Sox snap the Orioles’ four-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory.
“It’s just balls that are up in the zone that get hit out this year weren’t last year,” Hammel said. “It’s kind of just the way I’m going right now. The mistakes are being amplified.”
Hammel, who was looking for his first win since beating Washington on May 27, took the loss and gave up his 17th and 18th homers in 17 starts. Hammel (7-5) pitched seven innings and gave up five runs and nine hits.
Hammel isn’t alone with this problem. The Orioles have allowed a major league-high 115 home runs on the year.
“We’re not going to look too much into it,” Hammel said. “We’re aggressive. We’re aggressive in the zone. That’s what we do.
“You know, you get yourself into more trouble nitpicking and nibbling on the corners than actually challenging guys. Obviously you don’t want to give up home runs. The solo home run doesn’t hurt you, but if you put guys on in front of him then it starts to hurt.”
Gillaspie’s homer snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth, and Dunn’s 22nd, a two-run homer in the seventh, gave Chicago a 5-1 lead. Addison Reed pitched a scoreless ninth for his 22nd save in 26 attempts.
The home runs didn’t bother Orioles manager Buck Showalter as much as the fact his team’s lack of offense against Danks.
“That’s where some people will make the focus, but we just didn’t score any runs tonight,” Showalter said. “He pitched, it was 2-1. A lot of times, that’s enough. It was John Danks tonight and their pitching.
“Hamm, that’s what some people will remember, but I’ll look at how well he pitched up until that home run by Dunn.”
Chicago ended a five-game losing streak and avoided falling a season-high 16 games below .500.
Danks (2-5) earned his first win since June 8 against Oakland, pitching seven innings and allowing two runs and six hits while striking out four. Following that win against the Athletics, Danks had been winless in three starts while allowing 13 earned runs.
“That changeup was his baby tonight,” Orioles cleanup hitter Adam Jones said. “He kept everybody off balance with it.
“Any time it was a hitter’s count, he went to that changeup and it was good.”
Batting ninth, Brian Roberts homered for the first time since April 2011 for the Orioles, who were trying for their first five-game winning streak of the season after sweeping three games from the Yankees. With the loss, Baltimore fell 3 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the American League East.
“Careful’s not the right word but you’ve got to be smart with everybody in that lineup and obviously there was some mistakes they hit,” Danks said. “But for the most part I got away with some stuff.
“I was able to make some pitches when I needed to and the guys caught the ball behind me.”
Tuesday’s game capped a busy day for the Orioles, who acquired starting pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger from the Cubs for starter Jake Arrieta, reliever Pedro Strop, and two international signing bonus slots.
Feldman, who signed a one-year deal with the Cubs last offseason and is 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA, is expected to start Wednesday for the Orioles.
Left fielder Nolan Reimold also came off the disabled list and went 1 for 3. Reimold had been on the DL since May 12 with a strained right hamstring.
The Orioles got off to a quick start against the slumping White Sox.
Baltimore took a 1-0 lead with one out in the third when Roberts hit his first home run of the season after coming off the disabled list Sunday. Roberts’ homer, on Danks’ first pitch of the at-bat, was his first since April 13, 2011, against the Yankees.
Chicago tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on Gordon Beckham’s one-out single to left.
The White Sox took a 2-1 lead on Gillaspie’s one-out homer in the sixth. On a 1-0 pitch, Gillaspie hit his sixth homer of the season, a line drive that landed in the right-field corner.
Chicago scored three times in the seventh, capped by Dunn’s 427-foot, two-run homer. Beyond that, it was too much Danks for Baltimore.
“He didn’t present many opportunities,” Showalter said. “He had a good tempo and we knew what he was going to try to do and he did it. That’s a tribute to him and the good stuff he took out there tonight.”
The Orioles want to avoid a letdown following their big sweep of the Yankees.
“Obviously we would have loved to play (Monday),” Jones said. “We had the momentum. But we had an off day, which we all appreciate.
“But we came out tonight and we got beat. Sometimes it happens in baseball. You can come out and get beat by the other team.”
NOTES: The White Sox signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Micker Adolfo Zapata to a contract that included a $1.6 million signing bonus, the largest in team history for an international signing. … Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen will make a rehab start Thursday for Double-A Bowie and the team hopes he will get to 90 pitches. Chen has been on the disabled list since May 14 with a strained right oblique. … The White Sox appointed former slugger Jim Thome to a position as special assistant to general manager Rick Hahn. Thome, who last played for Baltimore in 2012, will work with players at all levels throughout the organization. … With Feldman pitching Wednesday against Chicago’s Hector Santiago (3-5, 3.59), the Orioles will start Zach Britton on Thursday and push Miguel Gonzalez to Friday in New York against the Yankees.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)