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Orioles get handed another L against White Sox

Orioles get handed another L against White Sox

Rookie Matt Davidson keeps powering the Chicago White Sox.

Davidson homered for the fourth straight game, then doubled and scored in a four-run sixth inning to lead Chicago over Baltimore 5-2 on Thursday, the Orioles' seventh loss in eight games.

Davidson hit a solo homer in the fourth, his 14th home run this season. He became the first White Sox player to go deep in four straight games since Alex Rios in April 2013.

Davidson broke his right foot while running the bases in his White Sox debut last June 30 and missed the remainder of the season.

"I think I'm just maturing as a player and understanding my swing a little better," Davidson said. "We made some pretty drastic swing changes two years ago going into `16, and I had a lot of time to reflect on what to improve as I was rehabbing last offseason."

Chicago manager Rick Renteria has used the 26-year-old mostly at designated hitter.

"He's been able to drive the ball out of the ballpark," Renteria said. "He's been able to get to pitches he can handle."

Caleb Joseph's RBI double in the fifth tied the score 1-1, but Melky Cabrera hit a two-run single in the sixth that chased Chris Tillman (1-5).

Chicago opened a 5-1 lead when Jimmy Yacabonis, making his third big league appearance, loaded the bases with a four-pitch walk to Tim Anderson, threw a head-high 3-2 pitch for ball four to Jose Abreu and allowed Leury Garcia's sacrifice fly.

Anthony Swarzak (3-1) allowed two hits in 1 2/3 scoreless innings to win in relief of David Holmberg, who gave up four hits in 4 1/3 innings. David Robertson allowed Welington Castillo's ninth-inning homer, his second in two games.

Chicago took three of four games in the series.

Tillman lost his fifth straight start, allowing five runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander has been pounded for 28 runs and 40 hits over 20 1/3 innings during his skid, raising his ERA to 8.07.

In his previous outing, on Saturday against the Yankeees, Tillman allowed a career-high nine runs in 1 1/3 innings.

"Yeah, I think it was much better," Tillman said. "Pitch here and there could've been better, but for the most part it was a step in the right direction."

Baltimore's ace last season at 16-6, Tillman missed spring training this year and started the season on the disabled list with shoulder bursitis. He beat the White Sox on May 7 in his first game this season.

"Chris has got a good track record, and he's going to pitch better," manager Buck Showalter said.

Avisail Garcia, who entered hitting an AL-leading .339, had two singles in three at-bats to extend his hitting streak to eight games before being ejected in the fifth after first base umpire Paul Emmel ruled he didn't check his swing on an 0-2 pitch in the dirt.

Garcia raised his arms and pointed to his right eye with his left hand, earning his ejection. Renteria came out to argue and also was tossed.

"I'm sure I'll hear about it," Renteria said.

Garcia was thrown out of a game for the first time in his big league career and Renteria was booted for the second time this season and eighth time in his career. Leury Garcia, who had sat out since Sunday when he injured his left hand on sliding into second base, replaced Avisail Garcia in center field.

MORE ORIOLES: HOW TO WATCH 2017 MLB ALL-STAR GAME

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

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USA Today Sports

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.

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Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

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USA TODAY Sports

Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

HOUSTON (AP) -- Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.

Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 -- with two possible more games to play. Twenty-five runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball's best.

After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. "They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, `Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, `Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5's seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros' win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.

Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: "Obviously, the balls are juiced."

Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.

"I haven't personally noticed anything. I haven't tried to think about it either," Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. "It's not something you want to put in your own head."

Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the postseason Sunday.

"I don't really pay attention to it," Kershaw said. "I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I'm not going to worry about it."

This year's long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.

Speculation that something has changed includes a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," said Rich Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. "I think that just has to do with conditions -- if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

Verlander rejected that assertion.

"I know Mr. Manfred said the balls haven't changed, but I think there's enough information out there to say that's not true," he said.

Verlander also does not think it's an issue of how balls are rubbed up before games.

"I know baseball uses the same mud for every single ball for every single game that's played," he said. "I think there's a broader issue that we're all missing."

On the day he become commissioner in January 2015, Manfred said, "I'm cognizant in the drop in offense over the last five years, and it's become a topic of conversation in the game, and it's something that we're going to have to continue to monitor and study."

Offense started rebounding during the second half of the season, and a record 6,105 home runs were hit this year, 2.4 percent more than the previous mark of 5,963 set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

"I think it's pretty clear," Verlander said. "I think our commissioner has said publicly that they wanted more offense in the game. I'm pretty sure I'm not fabricating a quote here when I say that. I think it was already All-Star break of `15, or right before, when he said that."

San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and Toronto's Marcus Stroman also think the balls have changed, with Stroman blaming slick balls for a rise in pitcher blisters -- an affliction which has struck Hill a few times in the past couple seasons, too.

Houston's Brent Strom and the Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt, the World Series pitching coaches, both were quoted by Sports Illustrated on Sunday as saying the slickness of the ball made throwing sliders difficult.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't see a ton difference, but I'm not going to get in a verbal war with coaches and players who think otherwise."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar view but acknowledged the power records got his attention.

"The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently," he said. "Sort of feels the same to me. But it's hard to argue the numbers. You know there's more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don't know."

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