CHICAGO — To that point, there was hardly a pulse from the Orioles. They managed three hits through seven innings and were looking their third shutout of the season in the face as the game wound to a close.

And then, with three swings, the fortunes turned. The barrels cracked and the Chicago White Sox pitchers craned their necks and the outfielders ran out of room. Three swings, three homers — an eighth-inning barrage that took Baltimore from a quiet performance to an explosive one.

It was Ryan O’Hearn first, his pull-side shot just sneaking into the visiting bullpen to plate two runs. Anthony Santander followed, his a no-doubt two-run homer. And, to finish the bombardment against White Sox relief pitching, Jordan Westburg cranked a line-drive homer that barely cleared the wall.

“That was a fun inning,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

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Just like that, a deficit turned into a lead, a meager offensive showing turned into a power showcase. Baltimore used that lethal eighth inning to topple the lowly White Sox 5-3 in the third game of a four-game series.

“Finally,” O’Hearn said. “We know we have a good offense and what we’re capable of. We also know we can put up runs fast. Get a couple guys on base, a couple homers, like it happened today.”

O’Hearn’s at-bat, in particular, started the rally in an impressive manner. He fouled off five pitches before he crushed a slider hanging in the strike zone. Still, O’Hearn said he would’ve preferred not to swing at some of those offerings he fouled — “They were at my head,” he said — but the finished product turned into what Hyde described as the “at-bat of the year.”

There had been little brewing before then. The Orioles finally chased right-hander Erick Fedde in the seventh inning (yet still stranded the two runners on base in that frame). And, while right-hander Albert Suárez pitched well through four innings — serving as a spot starter for the injured Dean Kremer — Baltimore fell behind at the first call to the bullpen.

One of the reasons Hyde turned to Keegan Akin in the fifth inning was that he’s left-handed. With two lefties due up to begin the frame, the matchup-based decision was logical.

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After all, left-handed batters were hitting .167 off Akin entering Saturday’s game. But, over the course of 1 2/3 innings, Akin failed to retire any of the lefties he faced. Akin walked Andrew Benintendi. He allowed a single to Nicky Lopez. And, after he loaded the bases with another walk, Gavin Sheets — a player who entered hitting just .100 in left-on-left matchups this year — clubbed a three-run triple to the right-center field fence.

In the sixth inning, it was more of the same from Akin. He retired the first two righties he saw and then walked Benintendi and allowed a single to Lopez again. In five plate appearances against lefties, the southpaw didn’t record an out.

“That was a struggle, for sure,” Hyde said. “That was unfortunate. That’s twice now he’s missed middle-middle with lefties in big spots, and that can’t happen at the major league level.”

Akin was the lone pitching hiccup, however. Suárez earned plaudits for grinding through four scoreless innings on 80 pitches despite short rest, having pitched out of the bullpen two days earlier.

“Every day, I come here and do a routine to be ready to pitch,” Suárez said. “When they told me I’m going to start, mentality changed, but the routine doesn’t. So I just focus on staying with the routine and do the job.”

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Left-hander Cionel Pérez earned the save, pitching because closer Craig Kimbrel had thrown two days in a row.

But right-hander Dillon Tate — recently recalled from Triple-A Norfolk — was the most impressive. He retired all seven batters he faced with four strikeouts, drawing seven whiffs on eight swings against his sweeper.

“Won us the game on the mound,” Hyde said.

It was Tate’s longest outing since 2021, and the performance kept the score close enough for Baltimore’s bats to eventually break out. And they sure broke out.

“We waited around a little bit,” Hyde said. “But it was great to see us swing the bat that inning.”

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Ryan O’Hearn hits the first of the Orioles’ three eighth-inning home runs Saturday in Chicago. (Melissa Tamez/AP)

Trade

The Orioles completed a trade with the Brewers on Saturday that saw right-handed minor league pitcher Garrett Stallings heading to Milwaukee in exchange for two arms: right-handers Thyago Vieira and Aneuris Rodriguez.

Vieira was designated for assignment this week and holds a 5.64 ERA this season, but there’s potential there from the 31-year-old. He throws his sinker on average at 96.9 mph. The Orioles have maximized the sinker quality of several relievers, including right-hander Yennier Cano. Vieira has yet to report, but when he does, it will require a roster move.

Rodriguez, 19, was assigned to the Florida Complex League. He has struck out 15 batters in 7 1/3 innings for Milwaukee’s Arizona Complex League team this year.

Stallings, 26, was a fifth-round selection by the Los Angeles Angels in 2019 and joined Baltimore via trade in 2020. He held a 5.67 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk this season.

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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