CHICAGO – Strikeouts are starting to pile up on the Chicago White Sox, and opposing teams are taking notice.
Jason Hammel struck out 10 and closer Jim Johnson fanned Alex Rios with the bases loaded Thursday to preserve the Baltimore Orioles' 5-3 win over the White Sox.
The White Sox struck out 16 times on the day and 41 times in the four-game series.
"They're a very aggressive team," Hammel said. "They're going swing at bad stuff if you get ahead in the count. I think I exploited that today."
The White Sox have whiffed 111 times through 12 games — a glaring weak spot that the Orioles took advantage of. Chicago left the bases loaded three times and stranded 11 runners total.
"Some of them you can put it down as maybe not having the right approach," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of the strikeouts. "Some of them are just good pitches. It's going to happen. You just try to learn from it and work on it and cut those down."
The White Sox dropped three of four to the Orioles and have lost four of their last five overall.
Adam Jones hit his fifth homer of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth inning. He's gone deep four times in the first seven games of Baltimore's 10-game road trip. He opened the scoring with an RBI double in the first.
White Sox starter Gavin Floyd said it was a hanging curveball that Jones hit deep.
"He's a good hitter, he's hot right now," Floyd said. "Probably should have kept that in mind."
Floyd (1-2) allowed five runs and six hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out seven.
The game was briefly delayed in the top of the seventh when a young boy who appeared to about 4 or 5 years old slipped through a barricade and went running across the outfield. With the crowd laughing, White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo scooped him up and handed him over to a security guard.
Viciedo, who has a 2-year-old son, said he reacted instinctively.
"My first reaction was to grab him," Viciedo said through an interpreter. "What I was thinking was hoping a ball doesn't come and hit him."
"I didn't know if the play had stopped or not," he said.
The child and his family were ejected from the game per Major League Baseball rules but no charges were filed, the team said.
"Safety is our No. 1 concern and we are happy that the child is fine," White Sox spokesman Scott Reifert said in a statement. "Obviously it was a non-issue for Dayan who was able to field the kid cleanly."
"But going on the field is stuff we do take seriously. It's not something we condone in any way," he said.
Hammel (2-0) matched a career high for strikeouts, doing it in just six innings. He worked out of trouble early, leaving the bases loaded in the first and third.
Johnson earned his sixth save. He has converted 14 straight chances dating to last season.
Adam Dunn had a walk, an RBI double and scored for Chicago. He extended his streak of getting on base to six appearances before striking out his next two times up, increasing his AL-high total to 21.
Dunn singled with two outs in the ninth, moving pinch-runner Brent Morel to third, and Paul Konerko was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rios struck out looking to end the game.
Hammel allowed doubles to Alejandro De Aza and Dunn in the third. Rios' single made it 2-all and Alexei Ramirez walked to load the bases. Hammel recovered to strike out Viciedo and Tyler Flowers, preserving the tie.
Viciedo struck out three times and grounded into a double play.
NOTES: The White Sox announced a paid attendance of 11,836. All four games against the Orioles drew fewer fans than any game at U.S. Cellular Field last season. The series drew a total of just 50,653.