Thursday, August 28, 2008

BALTIMORE | Brian Roberts turned a scheduled day off into a three-RBI performance as the Baltimore Orioles ended a five-game losing streak by crushing Chicago on Wednesday night.

Baltimore’s original lineup had Alex Cintron leading off, but Roberts was inserted after Cintron developed food poisoning. Roberts gave Baltimore the lead for good with a two-run single in the second, then drove in a run with his AL-leading 46th double in the fourth.

Aubrey Huff hit his 29th homer and drove in three runs. Melvin Mora and Kevin Millar also homered for the Orioles, who put a positive finish on a 2-7 homestand that began with three games apiece against the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye homered for the White Sox, whose lead over Minnesota in the AL Central was sliced to one game. Chicago had won its previous four road games by a combined 27-8 score.

White Sox starter John Danks (10-7) allowed four runs and seven hits in four innings. He was unbeaten in nine road starts since May 3.

Radhames Liz (5-3) gave up two runs, three hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings for the Orioles, who hadn’t held an opponent under four runs in their previous 10 games.

Roberts doubled in a run to make it 4-2 in the fourth, but Baltimore missed a chance to pull away when Huff flied out, leaving the bases loaded. That ended Danks’ night after 93 pitches.

Juan Castro hit a two-run single off Chicago’s Lance Broadway in the fifth, Mora connected in the sixth and Luke Scott doubled and scored in the seventh to make it 8-2.

Dye hit his 32nd homer leading off the eighth, Chicago’s major league-leading 198th of the season.

Huff hit a two-run drive in the bottom half, and Millar added a solo shot to seal the blowout.

After Baltimore used two singles and a sacrifice fly by Huff to take the lead in the first inning, Liz served up a belt-high fastball on a 3-1 count to Konerko, who hit it an estimated 415 feet into the seats in left.

The Orioles regained the lead in their half of the second. Lou Montanez drew a two-out walk, and Castro doubled before Roberts hit a two-run single.

Chicago’s Jim Thome had an RBI single in the third but was thrown out at second by right fielder Nick Markakis.

Notes — Markakis leads all AL outfielders with 15 assists. …

Chicago won the season series 5-4. …

The White Sox have a major league-leading 49 homers in August, two short of tying the franchise record for a month (July 2003 and August 2001).

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