CHICAGO (AP) — Nick Markakis hit a two-run homer and prevented one with a leaping catch in right field, and Nelson Cruz and J.J. Hardy each added a solo shot to power the Baltimore Orioles past the Chicago White Sox 8-2 Monday night.
Markakis was 3 for 5 with two RBIs and two runs, helping the Orioles increase their AL East lead to 7 1/2 games over the idle New York Yankees.
Cruz hit his 32nd homer, passing White Sox rookie Jose Abreu for the American League lead. Cruz is tied with Mike Stanton of the Miami Marlins for most in the majors.
Bud Norris (11-7) allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings to win his third straight start.
Chicago ace Chris Sale (10-3) yielded three runs and eight hits in six innings. He has dropped two straight decisions.
Avisail Garcia drove in both Chicago runs.
Sale worked out of a jam in the first inning after allowing the first two batters to reach on singles. The left-hander wasn’t as fortunate in the second when Hardy stroked a 1-0 pitch into the left-field bullpen for a 1-0 Baltimore lead.
The Orioles stretched it to 2-0 in the fifth. Markakis singled with one out and Steve Pearce followed with an RBI double to center.
Cruz led off the sixth with a homer to left.
Meanwhile, Norris faced the minimum through six innings. But he quickly found himself in trouble in the seventh after hitting Alejandro De Aza with a pitch and giving up a double to Alexei Ramirez that put runners on second and third with the heart of the Chicago lineup coming up.
Abreu, though, flied out to shallow center and Adam Dunn struck out. It appeared Norris might escape with his shutout intact, but Garcia came through with a two-run single to make it 3-2.
When Conor Gillaspie followed with a drive to deep right field, it appeared Norris might suddenly be headed to a loss. But Markakis raced back to the fence and made a leaping grab.
The Orioles then broke it open with a five-run eighth. Jonathan Schoop doubled in three runs and Markakis hit a two-run homer.
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