BALTIMORE — – It has been an encouraging season for the Baltimore Orioles.
This night felt completely magical.
Kyle Stowers hit his first major league homer to tie the game with Baltimore down to the final batter, and the Orioles held on for a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox in 11 innings Thursday night. The win kept Baltimore — which lost 110 games a season ago — within 2 1/2 of the final wild card in the American League.
“These guys are a lot of fun to be a part of,” said Jordan Lyles, who pitched seven innings for the Orioles. “We continue to have exciting streaks and wins like tonight. It’s a great time to be an Oriole fan.”
Anthony Santander won it with an RBI single, but it was Stowers who provided the biggest swing of the night in the ninth. The 24-year-old outfielder, playing in his seventh career game, sent an 0-2 pitch from Liam Hendriks over the wall in right-center field. Hendriks had returned on 19 consecutive occasions before that.
Hendriks flipped his glove after the homer, seemingly in disbelief, and Stowers understandably charged around the bases.
“I kind of freaked out a little bit,” he said. “I just knew I was very excited. I haven’t necessarily been doing my best the last few days, so to have a moment like that was really special.”
Félix Bautista (4-3) retired all six of his batters in the 10th and 11th, preventing the White Sox from even advancing an automatic runner in the third. The Orioles blew a first-and-third chance with none out in the 10th.
They got that opportunity again an inning later when Adley Rutschman hit a leadoff single against Jake Diekman (5-3). Santander followed with a line drive over the centre-half. It was Baltimore’s third hitless game, including Stowers’ solo homer.
Earlier in that at-bat, Stowers lofted a foul shot down the left-field line, but Adam Engel — who had entered the game as a defensive replacement — appeared to take his eye off the ball and throw it as it approached. screen. He was charged with Chicago’s third error of the night.
“I just knew I had another chance,” Stowers said. “That’s all you can ask for. It’s just funny how baseball works sometimes.”
Andrew Vaughn went deep on the first pitch of the game for the White Sox, but Santander responded with a two-run shot in the first. The White Sox tied it with an unearned run in the seventh, and José Abreu hit an RBI single in the eighth to give Chicago a 3-2 lead.
The White Sox remained four games behind first place Cleveland in the AL Central.
Lyles allowed one earned run and nine hits. Chicago’s Lance Lynn allowed one earned run and three hits in six innings.
Abreu made two early errors at first base, including one that led to an unearned run scoring on Santander’s homer.
The White Sox lost two of three in this series despite outscoring the Orioles 34-18.
The last Baltimore player whose first career homer tied a game in the ninth inning or later was Rich Coggins in 1973, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Hendriks was one pitch away from tying the franchise record for consecutive catches, held by Matt Karchner and Roberto Hernández.
Luis Robert’s hitting streak ended at 14 games. He struck out twice in the first and third innings and went 0-for-5.
White Sox: 3B Yoán Moncada left the game in the fifth inning with left hamstring strain. … I Eloy Jiménez, who was hit in the left elbow by a pitch on Tuesday, returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game. Jiménez was initially called out on an infield pitch in the fourth, but a replay showed the ball hit the knob and the call was overturned as a foul ball. Jiménez then singled.
White Sox: Start a nine-game homestand Friday night, first opponent is Arizona. Johnny Cueto (6-5, 2.58 ERA) starts for Chicago against Tommy Henry (2-2, 3.57).
Orioles: At Houston, with Kyle Bradish (1-5, 6.25) on the mound for Baltimore. Lance McCullers (1-1, 2.45) is expected to start for the Astros.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister