Roberts’ homer in 10th inning lifts Orioles past White Sox

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BALTIMORE | Suddenly, the Baltimore Orioles are a team to be feared.

Brian Roberts hit his first home run of the season leading off the 10th inning, and the Orioles continued their uncanny run of success under new manager Buck Showalter with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.

Baltimore is 6-1 since Showalter made his debut last Tuesday. Earl Weaver is the only other manager in the history of the Orioles to win six of his first seven games.

After sweeping three games from the Los Angeles Angels, the Orioles took three of four from Chicago, giving them successive series wins for the first time since July 2009. The homestand was Baltimore’s best since it went 7-0 against Seattle and Texas from Aug. 3-9, 2004.

“This team is playing well,” Chicago’s Juan Pierre said of the Orioles, who still own the worst record in the majors at 38-74. “You hope to not run into these teams at this point. They got a bunch of young guys and a new manager. They play hard.

“We didn’t play our best baseball. We had opportunities. But I don’t think anybody wants to play that team right now, the way they’re playing.”

Roberts‘ drive came on a 1-0 pitch from J.J. Putz (5-3).

“At that time in the game I was trying to figure out whether to take a strike or not,” Roberts said. “But you’re pretty sure you’re going to get a heater at that point at 1-0 leading off the inning.”

Roberts, a two-time All-Star, missed much of the season with a bad back before returning from the 60-day disabled list on July 23.

Matt Albers (4-3), who worked out of a jam in the top of the 10th, got the win.

It was Baltimore’s third walkoff win of the homestand. Now the Orioles take to the road, where they own a miserable 14-40 record.

“There’s another challenge around every corner. You can’t dwell much on it. Now the road presents a challenge for us,” Showalter said.

Center fielder Adam Jones said, “We’ve just got to take the momentum, how we’ve been playing, on the road. Let’s see how it works for us there.”

Paul Konerko hit a ninth-inning homer for the White Sox, who fell into a first-place tie with Minnesota in the AL Central. The White Sox and Twins open a three-game series in Chicago on Tuesday night.

“I’m not concerned,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We have a team that can hit, but the last four days we’ve been very quiet offensively.”

Chicago scored 10 runs in the four-game series.

Konerko, who earlier made a costly mental mistake in the field, hit the first pitch from closer Alfredo Simon into the left-field seats to tie it at 2. Chicago eventually got the potential tiebreaking run to second base with one out before Mike Gonzalez retired the side.

Konerko’s 28th homer was a redemptive shot, because his mental lapse in the sixth helped Baltimore take a 2-1 lead against starter Edwin Jackson.

After Ty Wigginton homered, Luke Scott singled and advanced when third baseman Dayan Viciedo botched a grounder. A single by Felix Pie loaded the bases for Matt Wieters, who hit a hard grounder to Konerko at first. Instead of trying to double up the slow-footed Wieters, Konerko tried to tag first and threw home too late to get the sliding Scott.

“I screwed that up by going toward first base,” Konerko said. “But what actually happened on that play, if you watch the replays, is I never touched first base. They called that guy safe, but out for running out of the baseline. I fired home because I knew I made a wrong decision by going to the bag.”

Orioles rookie Brian Matusz allowed one run and three hits in six innings. Since Showalter took over, Baltimore starters have pitched at least six innings in seven straight games and have registered a 1.89 ERA.

“Obviously as you can see, we’re playing really good baseball. It all starts with the guy that throws that first pitch in inning No. 1,” Roberts said. “Our starters have been great. They’ve gotten us deep in games, which is helping our bullpen.”

Koji Uehara worked two perfect innings, setting the stage for Simon’s fourth blown save in 21 tries.

The White Sox went up 1-0 in the third when Matusz hit Pierre with a pitch on an 0-2 count and yielded a two-out RBI double to Alex Rios.

NOTES: Pierre extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying a career-high. … Konerko’s 28 homers matches his total from last year. … The Orioles are 1-8 on Mondays this season.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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