Before the White Sox came to town on Thursday, the Orioles were in a rut. They had lost 13 of 21, seeing their playoff hopes take a blow in the process.
But a four-game series against last-place Chicago has changed Baltimore's fortunes. The Orioles will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards, as they stand just one game back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card berth. They pulled out a 4-3 victory on Saturday, when Matt Wieters hit a walk-off two-run single in the 10th inning.
The White Sox are trying to avoid the sweep, and also put an end to a nine-game losing streak that is one game short of their season high.
They will hope for a rebound performance from Andre Rienzo (1-1, 5.03 ERA), who'll be pitching on six days' rest following his second straight rough outing. The rookie right-hander, who has surpassed his career high in innings by a significant margin, gave up five runs in three innings against the Red Sox last Sunday. He allowed five hits, walked four and struck out three, throwing only 43 of 77 pitches for strikes.
"Everybody [saw] how trashy my game was. I did really bad and I didn't give the team a chance to win. It was completely my fault," Rienzo said. "I still feel good. Just little things didn't work. They are working for the other team, but they didn't work for me. I'll just keep on working for the next one."
Bud Norris, on the other hand, had no problems his last time out. The righty, who is 4-1 with a 4.28 ERA for Baltimore, reached the 10-win plateau for the first time in his career -- on Monday in Cleveland. He held the Indians to one run on four hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out eight.
"Just attacking the zone, real confident. He had command of all his pitches," Orioles manager Showalter said of Norris.
White Sox: Semien getting a look
Marcus Semien, Chicago's No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com, made his second Major League start on Saturday. Semien played mostly shortstop in the Minors, but so far, manager Robin Ventura has used the 22-year-old at third base.
Semien hit .284/.401/.479 with 19 home runs between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this season. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI against the Yankees on Wednesday and 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Saturday.
"He looked like he belonged," Ventura said of Semien's debut. "We want to give him as many at-bats as we got to see what we've got as far as next year. It started in New York and he's gonna continue to get opportunities as we go along."
Orioles: Roberts staying in lineup
Second baseman Brian Roberts homered for the second time in his last three games on Saturday, smacking a game-tying solo shot in the fifth inning. It was Roberts' fifth of the season.
If the veteran plays on Sunday, it will be his 60th game, which would be his most since 2009. He played 59 games in '10, 39 in '11 and 17 last year, battling numerous injuries.
"Nobody's having more fun than Robby," manager Buck Showalter said. "When you've been through the things and some of the teams he's been on, to be in this situation, I think has been a real energizer."
• Norris faced the White Sox for the first time on June 17, when he was still with the Astros. He gave up four runs on eight hits in six innings.
• Rienzo has never pitched against the Orioles.
• The Orioles have a 4-2 lead in the season series heading into the final matchup.