White Sox end long road trip with loss
Colon struggles in finale, but Chicago goes 5-4 on trek
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles might as well have been taking batting practice against Bartolo Colon, while the White Sox scouting report on Adam Eaton didn't jive with the masterful pitching effort that ended Chicago's longest road trip of the season on a decidedly down note.
Colon lasted only three innings, and the White Sox suffered a 6-2 loss to the Orioles on Thursday night, ending their 11-day trek with a 5-4 mark.
"We would have liked to have won more games, but we ended up [5-4] on the road," second baseman Chris Getz said. "I guess we can look at that as a positive."
Chicago left fielder Carlos Quentin left the game in the top of the eighth after being struck in the left hand by a pitch from Baltimore reliever Jim Johnson. A team spokesman said Quentin sustained a contusion on his hand, was removed as a precaution and did not have X-rays taken. Quentin will be reevaluated Friday before the White Sox open a three-game series against the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field.
"[Quentin] said he should be fine," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We're going to wait until [Friday]."
Colon exited following 63 pitches on Thursday night, and Guillen explained the early departure by saying he wanted to preserve the right-hander for later in the season, rather than tax him on a night he didn't have his best stuff.
"I felt great," Colon said through translator Juan Nieves, Chicago's bullpen coach. "But I think that [Baltimore] felt a lot better."
Colon (1-1) surrendered five runs on eight hits and two walks. The three-inning outing was his shortest in three starts this season and his briefest since giving up four runs in one inning for the Angels in a game against the A's on July 23, 2007.
"Every time his ball was moving, he was around the plate," Guillen said of Colon. "He's got to throw strikes and make his ball move. When he made his ball move, right now, it's moving into the middle of the plate."
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the first when right fielder Jermaine Dye misplayed Aubrey Huff's double, allowing Adam Jones to score, and Ty Wigginton's RBI single plated Huff. Luke Scott added a two-run double and scored on Cesar Izturis' single in the third. Colon was pulled after having his ERA rise from 3.86 to 6.14.
While the O's were teeing off on Colon, the White Sox were having trouble mustering any offense against right-hander Adam Eaton (1-1). Though opposing batters were hitting Eaton at a .425 clip entering the game, Eaton checked Chicago on six hits through 7 1/3 innings. He was charged with two runs and struck out nine, including Jim Thome and Josh Fields three times each.
Eaton, signed to a Minor League deal on March 1 after being cut loose by Philadelphia, didn't look like a pitcher who carried a 9.00 ERA into the game and backed his way into the rotation when other options didn't pan out. He allowed a leadoff single to Getz, who promptly stole second base. However, the White Sox were unable to get another runner that far until Alexei Ramirez led off the eighth with a double down the left-field line.
"[Eaton] pitched real well. He's got a little deception in his fastball, and that's what kind of threw us off," Getz said. "He was around the plate, threw strikes [and] kept us off balance, and that's why he had a lot of success. ... I know his ERA was up there, but he only pitched two starts before, so you don't know what's going to happen. It's not like it was a heavy trend going on."
Eaton departed after giving up a one-out single to Getz in the eighth. Chicago loaded the bases before Thome's two-run single off Johnson. The hit helped Thome salvage a night that saw him unable to figure out Eaton. In his only other career start against the White Sox, for the Phillies on June 11, 2007, Eaton threw seven scoreless innings and picked up the win.
"He threw the ball good, so you've got to credit him," said Thome, who's now 2-for-9 lifetime against Eaton with five strikeouts. "From the first inning, he attacked the strike zone with a good cutter and a front-door slider. ... Unfortunately for us, we didn't do much with him."
Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.