BALTIMORE -- A few weeks ago, the Chicago White Sox might have gone quietly after blowing a four-run lead in the seventh inning.
A.J. Pierzynski homered and drove in three runs, Alex Rios singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth, and the White Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-6 on Monday night for their fourth straight victory.
Gordon Beckham also connected for the White Sox, who secured their season-high sixth consecutive win on the road and moved within five games of the lead in the AL Central.
After J.J. Hardy hit a three-run homer in the seventh off Jesse Crain (6-3) to put Baltimore up 6-5, the White Sox regained the lead against Jim Johnson (5-4). Paul Konerko walked, Carlos Quentin singled and Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly to tie it. Rios then singled under the glove of third baseman Josh Bell to bring home Quentin.
"They (took) the lead and then right away we tied the game," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We (didn't) wait long, we (didn't) put our head down. Everybody was positive."
The reason, he suspected, was a four-game sweep by the Yankees in Chicago at the beginning of August by a combined 34-11 score.
"Maybe because we got our butt kicked so bad in New York, it was like a wake-up call," Guillen said, adding that the collective mindset at that time was, "We're better than this. We should be playing better now."
And so they are.
Rios had two hits and is 7 for 11 with four RBIs during Chicago's four-game run, and although Pierzynski entered the game in an 0-for-12 funk, he broke out in style.
"We've been fighting, scraping and clawing and it's nice to come back on somebody else instead of having them do it to us," the catcher said. "It's nice scoring those runs late. It's hard to do, but when it does happen it's fun."
Sergio Santos struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his 23rd save. It was his 28th successive scoreless appearance on the road (spanning two seasons), the longest such run by a major leaguer since Pedro Feliciano went 39 straight in 2006-07.
Hardy, who missed the Orioles' previous three games with an ankle injury, went 3 for 5 with two doubles, a homer and four RBIs. Matt Wieters had three hits, but it wasn't enough to prevent Baltimore from absorbing its 10th loss in 13 games.
"It's frustrating," Hardy said. "We battled back, we took the lead. They got a couple of hits there that brought them back the lead. A couple of broken-bat bloopers fell in. That's just bad luck and frustrating."
Hardy's homer made Baltimore the first team in the majors this season to have three players with at least 20. Hardy joined Mark Reynolds (26) and Adam Jones (20). In this game, however, Reynolds went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and Jones was hitless in five at-bats with two strikeouts.
Manager Buck Showalter took consolation in the comeback the Orioles made before giving the lead away.
"I'm proud of the way we battled back, being down 4-0," he said.
Those four runs came in the second inning against Jeremy Guthrie, who twice yielded homers on 0-2 pitches. Pierzynski led off with his sixth home run, a drive to center. Rios followed with a double, Adam Dunn hit an RBI single and Beckham concluded the flurry with a two-run shot to left.
The Orioles closed to 4-2 in the third. Wieters doubled and scored on a single by Bell, who came to the plate batting .100 without an RBI. Bell took third on a double by Hardy and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Markakis.
Hardy hit an RBI double in the fifth, but with runners on second and third and one out, John Danks struck out Markakis and got Jones on a grounder.
Guthrie retired 10 straight before Konerko led off the sixth by hitting a grounder that got past Bell for an error. Konerko was thrown out at third on a single by Quentin, who took second on the throw. Pierzynski followed with an RBI single to make it 5-3.
First batters against Crain were 4 for 41 before Hardy connected in the seventh. ... The Orioles placed INF Cesar Izturis (strained groin) on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Jason Berken from Triple-A Norfolk. ... RHP Gavin Floyd will start for the White Sox on Tuesday night against LHP Jo-Jo Reyes, who will get his first start since the Orioles picked him on waivers on Aug. 2. In his last start, Floyd allowed a career-high 10 runs in a loss to the Yankees. .... Orioles 1B Chris Davis (shoulder) missed a fourth straight game. ... Jones is 1 for 21 lifetime against Danks ...
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