By ANDREW SELIGMAN | AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Dylan Cease made it look easy as soon as he stepped on the mound.
Cease struck out a career-high 13 over seven innings, Gavin Sheets homered and the Chicago White Sox avoided a four-game sweep, hanging on to beat Baltimore 4-3 Sunday after the Orioles scored twice in the ninth inning.
“It feels great,” Cease said. “I want to be that guy that the team can rely on.”
Cease has certainly been reliable, with a 2.56 ERA through 15 starts. And he helped put the White Sox in position for an easy win before things got dicey.
The Orioles, aided by errors on consecutive plays by first baseman José Abreu, loaded the bases against Kendall Graveman with none out in the ninth before Jonathan Araúz lined an RBI single.
After pinch hitter Rougned Odor struck out, Cedric Mullins cut it to 4-3 with a sacrifice fly to deep center. Graveman struck out Trey Mancini for his third save as the White Sox snapped a four-game skid, avoiding their first four-game sweep at home since Sept. 4-7, 2017 against Cleveland.
The Orioles' season-high four-game winning streak ended.
Cease (6-3), fifth in the majors in strikeouts coming into the game, kept the Orioles off balance with a high-90s fastball and nasty slider and curve. The right-hander allowed four hits, walked one and surpassed his previous high of 11 strikeouts, which he matched in Chicago’s win over Toronto on Tuesday. The only run he allowed came on a homer by Araúz.
“I love watching Dylan pitch,” Sheets said. “He's very effective. He attacks the zone. He's got great stuff.”
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was impressed, too.
“That's elite stuff,” he said. “I was happy we got four hits off him. It's three plus-plus pitches. It's 100 (mph). It's a bright day, so it's tough to see. He's throwing 100 with a nasty slider and nasty curveball. ... Very difficult to hit against.”
Sheets hit a two-run drive against Jordan Lyles in the second. Abreu singled twice and scored two runs.
Highly touted rookie Lenyn Sosa picked up his first major league hit when he doubled in the third and scored. Seby Zavala added an RBI single in the fourth.
Joe Kelly worked around back-to-back singles by Mullins and Mancini in the eighth. Graveman, closing with Liam Hendriks sidelined because of a strained right forearm, stayed composed when things got tense in the ninth.
“I think one thing that experience does in those moments is you've still got a game plan, be able to slow the game down and not get sped up," Graveman said. “Call everybody in right then and say, 'Hey, it's fine, we've still got to win a baseball game. No panic. Nobody's fault. I'll pick you up. I'll do the best I can to pick you up moving forward and try to win this baseball game.' The last thing you need is for it to get a little spiral-y and get out of control.”
Lyles (4-7) went seven innings, allowing four runs and six hits.
Orioles: RHP Kyle Bradish (right shoulder inflammation) should be ready to return from the 15-day injured list around the time he is eligible, manager Brandon Hyde said. He was placed on the IL on Thursday after experiencing soreness following a side session a few days earlier.
White Sox: 3B Yoán Moncada (right hamstring strain) is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday when he's eligible to return from the 10-day IL, manager Tony La Russa said.
Orioles: RHP Tyler Wells (5-4, 3.34 ERA) looks to win his fourth straight start as the Orioles open a three-game series at Seattle. Wells, who tossed five scoreless innings against Washington on Wednesday, is 4-0 in his past five outings. RHP George Kirby (2-2, 3.12) gets the ball for the Mariners.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (4-4, 5.40) looks to steady himself after posting a 9.47 ERA in his past five starts as the White Sox visit the Los Angeles Angels. RHP Noah Syndergaard (4-6, 3.86) pitches for the Angels.
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