BALTIMORE — One minute they show you promise, the next the White Sox show you why they haven’t been very good.
Several defensive mistakes and another gaffe on the bases Thursday didn’t do rookie starter Chris Beck any favors in the second half of a long, muggy afternoon. Winners behind a dominant Chris Sale in the opener, the White Sox were forced to settle for a split after they dropped the nightcap of a doubleheader, 6-3, to the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The teams split the makeup doubleheader but the White Sox — who open a three-game series in Houston on Friday night — made a handful of errors that may have cost them a sweep.
“We had some chances there to get (Beck) out of some stuff and we didn’t and you move on to Houston,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It was a long day, a long day to get guys in there and play some positions, but we could have played better in the second game.
“He did his job.”
He said it could have been better, but all things considered, Beck’s major league debut was solid — especially after he settled down. Unfortunately for the White Sox, their defense went the opposite direction.
Holding a 3-2 lead in the third, Beck yielded a one-out single and walked Chris Davis. Steve Clevenger followed with a single but Melky Cabrera’s throw home was on the mark only for Geovany Soto to drop it, which allowed Adam Jones to score and the others to move into scoring position.
On the very next play, Conor Gillaspie couldn’t hang on to J.J. Hardy’s ground-ball single, which allowed another run to score and gave Baltimore a 4-3 lead. But Beck retired the next two batters to limit the damage in the third.
He pitched around a one-out double in the fourth and leadoff walk in the fifth.
Beck looked like he’d get around a leadoff double in the sixth but Emilio Bonifacio misplayed Travis Snider’s hard liner into an RBI single to make it 5-3.
Despite the extra outs provided by the White Sox, Beck avoided letting the game get out of hand.
“He managed himself really good,” Soto said. “He was a big leaguer. He looked like a big leaguer.”
A low throw by Beckham in the seventh accounted for another run, this one charged to Dan Jennings.
Beck looked just like a rookie in his first two innings. He gave up an opposite-field triple to Manny Machado on his first pitch and walked Johnny Paredes with one out. Adam Jones’ RBI groundout made it 1-0 in the first and Davis doubled in another run to put Beck down by two. But the rookie stranded two batters in the second inning when Snider grounded out to first.
Beck — who was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte after the game — allowed five runs (four earned) and 10 hits with four walks in six innings.
Though he was partly satisfied and found some positives, Beck wanted more.
“Still there was a couple of pitches in my head I wish I could take back,” Beck said. “You just tried to move on from each one and execute to the best of my abilities and today that just wasn’t really up to par.”
After a strong start, the White Sox offense had to settle for a bogey or two when birdies were an option.
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Adam Eaton started the game with a solo home run off rookie pitcher Mike Wright. The White Sox added two more in the third inning on a two-run homer by Adam LaRoche to put the White Sox ahead 3-2.
But trailing by a run in the fifth, the White Sox ran themselves out of a potential rally. LaRoche led off with a walk and Beckham drew a 10-pitch free pass. LaRoche tagged on Gillaspie’s fly to right and advanced to third. But Beckham inexplicably took off from first, slipped and was doubled off. After another walk, reliever Oliver Drake retired J.B. Shuck on a liner.
Ventura attributed some of his team’s mistakes to a long day in the midst of an unforgiving stretch of 18 games in 17 days. Given the scenarios he faced, Beck impressed Ventura.
“His presence of what was going on around him, he still competed and did what he was supposed to do,” Ventura said. “It’s a good lineup, it’s tough to go through. For a guy’s first time up here he was fine.
“Once he got over the ‘he’s starting,’ his command was better and got guys out in front with the change.”