BALTIMORE -- Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during spring training he expected the Sox to face their share of difficulties this season as the organization builds for the future.
This week, Hahn acknowledged this is one of those rocky stretches.
A night after breaking a five-game losing streak, the Sox started another one when they blew a four-run lead in the eighth inning on the way to a rain-delayed, 12-inning 5-4 loss to the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Sox have lost 10 of their last 13 games.
Sox reliever Daniel Webb, the sixth Sox pitcher of the night, walked Orioles catcher Nick Hundley to start the 12th. Nick Markakis followed with a single that allowed pinch-runner David Lough to make it to third base. With Steve Pearce up, Webb threw a wild pitch that bounced past Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, allowing Lough to score the winning run.
"While we went into this season with the goal of winning as many games as possible, we knew this was going to be part of a process, there were going to be some fits and starts," Hahn said this week. "There would be some nice stretches and there would be some rougher ones. But it's all part of an ongoing process to retool to get us in a position to have longer-term success. There will be some growing pains, and that's what we're experiencing now."
The Sox rode seven scoreless innings from right-hander Hector Noesi to a 4-0 lead entering the eighth before Nelson Cruz ruined the mood with a grand slam.
Noesi allowed singles to the first two batters he faced in the inning. After Zach Putnam relieved him and recorded two outs, Sox manager Robin Ventura opted for left-hander Scott Downs to face left-handed hitter Chris Davis. Downs walked Davis to load the bases, and then Javy Guerra entered and allowed Cruz's tying grand slam on a shot to right field.
Jose Abreu started the night off right for the Sox when he sent a shot over the left-field fence on the first pitch of the fourth inning from Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. Playing in his 65th career game, Abreu reached 23 career homers faster than any player in major league history.
Adam Eaton hit an RBI triple deep to right-center field in the fifth inning to push the Sox lead to 2-0. The Sox added two runs in the seventh off Jimenez. Dayan Viciedo walked, Alejandro De Aza doubled and Tyler Flowers hit a two-run single to left. Flowers tried to stretch his hit to a double, but the Orioles won a challenge that he was out at second.
After the ninth ended tied 4-4, the grounds crew brought out the tarp as a heavy downpour forced a delay of 1 hour, 9 minutes.
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