After the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3 Wednesday night, Nelson Cruz said he was more focused on the team than any personal accomplishments.
That's not a bad way to be with the Orioles these days.
Cruz took the major league lead with his 33rd home run and the surging Orioles completed a three-game sweep of the White Sox. Adam Jones and Steve Pearce also homered as the Orioles won their fourth straight and extended their AL East lead to nine games over second-place Toronto.
Cruz matched his career high for homers and moved one ahead of White Sox rookie Jose Abreu and Miami's Giancarlo Stanton.
"It's just personal stuff. I'm happy because we're winning," Cruz said. "That's the main goal here."
It's clear then that the Orioles are reaching plenty of their goals.
Baltimore posted its first sweep in Chicago over the White Sox since July 1995. And it did so thanks to its power — the Orioles hit three homers off Hector Noesi (7-9) and lead baseball with 161.
Baltimore also got plenty of pitching, with Wei-Yin Chen (13-4) going 7 1-3 innings and allowing three runs and six hits before Zach Britton picked up his 27th save in 30 tries. That was good news for the noisy, orange-clad Orioles fans who made up a decent portion of the crowd and saw their team improve to 39-26 on the road.
"If you pitch well, you give yourself some opportunities," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "There's some things we weren't perfect at tonight. When you pitch well, it can cover some things and when you catch the baseball."
Chen fell behind early when he allowed a two-run homer in the first to Avisail Garcia and left in the eighth leading 4-3 after allowing one-out singles to Alexei Ramirez and Alejandro De Aza.
But Darren O'Day struck out Abreu then Garcia to end the threat.
"That's a tough spot for them and (O'Day) came through big," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You get a guy, a sidewinder like that, it's a tough at-bat for those guys."
Noesi went seven innings as the White Sox fell a season-high nine games below .500.
"You know, when you miss a pitch, you miss the location they go for it," Noesi said.