White Sox rookie Dylan Axelrod took a three-hitter into the eighth inning and Chicago spoiled the Baltimore debut of Joe Saunders, scoring seven runs off the left-hander in an 8-1 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday night.
Gordon Beckham had three hits and three RBIs to help Chicago snap a five-game road losing streak. Alexei Ramirez went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and scored twice for the White Sox, who will seek a split of the four-game series on Thursday.
Omar Quintanilla drove in the lone run for the Orioles, whose four-game winning streak ended. Baltimore remained 3½ games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
Axelrod (2-2) allowed one run, three hits and four walks in 7 1-3 innings to earn his third career win. Recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to replace injured Gavin Floyd, the right-hander retired 13 straight batters before a one-out walk in the eighth ended his night.
Obtained on Sunday in a trade that sent reliever Matt Lindstrom to Arizona, Saunders (0-1) gave up 10 hits and six earned runs in 5 1-3 innings. He yielded four runs in the first and never once retired the side in order.
Saunders, who grew up an Orioles fan in northern Virginia, fell to 3-1 lifetime at Camden Yards. Baltimore is his third stop in a major league career that began in 2005 with the Angels.
The Orioles' success of late and the prospect of seeing Saunders' debut barely caused a ripple at the turnstiles: The game drew a crowd of 13,098.
Saunders launched the Baltimore portion of his career with a wretched first inning. Dewayne Wise singled on Saunders' second pitch and Kevin Youkilis hit a fly ball to the warning track in center before Adam Dunn walked. After Paul Konerko got an infield hit, Alex Rios hit a two-run double and Ramirez singled in two runs.
Chicago added an unearned run in the fourth when Beckham hit an RBI double after Matt Wieters dropped a foul pop behind the plate.
Baltimore closed to 5-1 in the bottom half when Wieters doubled, took third on a fly ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Quintanilla, his career-high 16th RBI of the season.
Saunders was pulled after the White Sox opened the sixth with two singles and a sacrifice. Beckham greeted Kevin Gregg with a two-run single.
An RBI single by Dayan Viciedo made it 8-1 in the seventh.