By NOAH TRISTER | AP Baseball Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) — It has been an encouraging season for the Baltimore Orioles.
This night felt downright magical.
Kyle Stowers hit his first major league homer to tie the game with Baltimore down to its last strike, and the Orioles went on to 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 just so enjoyable to be a part of,” said Jordan Lyles, who pitched seven innings for the Orioles. “We keep having exciting series and wins like tonight. It's a good time to be an Oriole fan."
Anthony Santander won it with an RBI single, but it was Stowers who provided the night's biggest swing in the ninth. The 24-year-old outfielder, playing his seventh career game, sent an 0-2 pitch from Liam Hendriks over the wall in right-center field. Hendriks had converted 19 save chances in a row before that.
Hendriks flipped his glove after the homer, seemingly in disbelief, and Stowers was understandably charged up rounding the bases.
“I kind of blacked out a little bit,” he said. “I just knew I was really excited. I haven't necessarily been swinging it 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 hitters in the 10th and 11th, preventing the White Sox from even advancing an automatic runner to third. The Orioles blew a first-and-third, nobody-out chance in the 10th.
They had 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 center fielder. That was Baltimore's third unearned run of the game, including Stowers’ solo homer.
Earlier in that at-bat, Stowers lifted a catchable foul fly down the line in left, but Adam Engel — who had entered the game as a defensive replacement— appeared to take his eye off the ball and dropped it as he neared the 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 game’s first pitch for the White Sox, but Santander answered 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 put Chicago ahead 3-2.
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 outhitting 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 saves, held by Matt Karchner and Roberto Hernández.
Luis Robert's hitting streak ended at 14 games. He hit into double plays 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 tightness. ... OF Eloy Jiménez, who was hit in the left elbow by a pitch Tuesday, was back in the lineup after missing Wednesday's game. Jiménez was initially sent to first on an inside pitch in the fourth, but a replay showed the ball hit the knob of his bat and the call was overturned to a foul ball. Jiménez then singled.
White Sox: Start a nine-game homestand Friday night, the first opponent being 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
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