08/27/10 12:47 AM ET
Arrieta's brief outing begins long night for O's
Starter lasts just four innings; bats muffled in loss to White Sox
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
His next chat with Kranitz was an entirely different circumstance, as the O's pitching coach made a mound visit just two outs into the game, after Arrieta issued three walks and drained any leftover momentum from Wednesday's starter Brian Matusz in the game's opening 15 minutes.
"Sometimes you can actually win the game in the first inning," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who watched Arrieta labor through a 35-pitch opening frame.
Thursday night proved to be one of those times, as Arrieta's slow start lulled the O's offense into a slumber they never came out of. And White Sox starter Edwin Jackson left little doubt of that, tossing eight scoreless innings in a dominating 10-strikeout performance that handed the Orioles an 8-0 rubber-match loss in front of 23,898 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The defeat handed a slumping Chicago squad its first series win in six tries, a skid dating back to the Baltimore series from Aug. 6-8. It also dropped the O's to 13-10 under Showalter and 0-5 in decisive, three-game contests on the road. The Orioles have been swept 10 times this year, and they are now 45-83 on the season.
The night was ugly from the onset for Arrieta, who was pitching on five days' rest and coming off two consecutive 110-plus pitch outings.
"I was erratic pretty much all night," said Arrieta, who threw only 16 of his first 35 pitches for strikes. "I struggled to find a consistent arm slot. I had trouble [with] location.
"Most of the time when I miss, it's not by much. But tonight, I was just missing by a lot."
And the White Sox had no problems waiting. Chicago's veteran lineup patiently worked Arrieta, who allowed a pair of runs on four singles in the third, before chasing him from the game after 85 pitches and four runs through four innings.
"It was going to be an uphill fight," Showalter said. "You actually like that he got out of [the first] inning with giving up only the one run. I'm pretty sure that he's going to tell you in [the clubhouse] that he felt great. Sometimes you can get a little too fine. I thought he got a little out of his delivery."
And as a result, Arrieta turned in his shortest outing in five starts -- his four earned runs allowed matched the total runs he had given up in his previous 12 2/3 innings.
Conversely, the Orioles couldn't get anything going off Jackson, who entered the game 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts since joining the White Sox. Jackson held the O's to one hit -- Nick Markakis' infield single -- through the first five innings, and worked off a blistering fastball that topped out at 98 mph.
"It's one of those things where you put the pressure on the offense on the other side," Jackson said of his approach, which included five strikeouts in the first two innings. "Stay ahead in the count and put the pressure on them. I don't really go for strikeouts unless it's a situation where I have to put someone away."
He did that almost effortlessly on Thursday, picking up eight strikeouts in the first five innings and allowing just one extra-base hit all night. Jackson went on to allow just three hits, twice stranding a runner at third base, en route to his second victory with Chicago.
"Every time I see him -- I think he's been with four or five clubs -- and you just wonder why," Showalter said of Jackson, who has recorded double-digit strikeouts in back-to-back starts for the first time in his career.
"He's been pitching well for quite a while. There's such late recognition on his slider and it goes in so hard, 88, 89 mph, and you don't pick it up until late. And it's more of a downward action than it is side-to-side. It gives him two really tough bullets because his fastball is so heavy with plus-velocity."
Jackson became the first White Sox starter since Javier Vazquez in 2007 to record at least 10 strikeouts in consecutive starts and improved to 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his past seven starts against American League opponents.
"He's always had great stuff," Orioles infielder Ty Wigginton said of Jackson, whom he played with in Tampa Bay. "I know he's a good teammate. I just look at a guy like that when you see him changing teams, I think it's just a matter of getting that right fit."
While Jackson could do no wrong on Thursday, the Orioles arms couldn't do anything right, helping the White Sox record 10 or more hits for the 11th time in 12 games. Orioles long man Rick VandenHurk came on after Arrieta and allowed two runs on five hits over three innings, while Armando Gabino -- who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk following the game -- surrendered a two-run homer to Alex Rios in the eighth.
But the night started and ultimately ended with Arrieta, who continues to be plagued by issues with his location. In 83 Major League innings, he has issued 46 walks against 39 strikeouts. The rookie has walked at least two batters in all 15 of his starts -- he has walked four or more in five outings.
"[I] just have to keep the walks down," Arrieta said. "I know that, everyone knows that. And I will. [I] just have to continue to work. That's all I can do."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.