CHICAGO -- Just hours after the White Sox lost perhaps the league's most reliable setup man to the disabled list, the eighth inning came back to haunt them in a 4-2 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday night.
Matt Lindstrom and Matt Thornton combined to allow three hits in the eighth, including a go-ahead two-run double to slugger Chris Davis, as the Orioles took the second game of the series at U.S. Cellular Field.
"On a normal night, [Jesse Crain's] coming in," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's been a pretty good spot for us with him. I think anytime you lose that kind of element out of your bullpen, it's tough. It moves people around. Not that they can't do the job there, it's just what you're used to seeing is not there anymore. So guys are going to have to step up and fill those shoes for a while."
Crain, placed on the 15-day DL earlier Wednesday with right shoulder soreness, leads AL relievers with a 0.74 ERA, and recently set a franchise record by making 29 consecutive scoreless appearances.
Lindstrom, who took the loss, and Thornton are no strangers to the eighth inning, but the bullpen without Crain still faces piecing together the back end of ballgames without one of its key cogs.
And, to be fair, there are few hitters hotter and more feared in the American League than Davis.
"Lindstrom has had a good year, in my opinion. He's out there battling," said second baseman Gordon Beckham, who hit his first homer of the season in the fifth. "Thornton, I felt like has been as good as he's been every time he's been out the last five or six times.
"Credit [the Orioles]. They've got a guy that's hitting .330 and driving in a million runs and hitting a million home runs. He's really good. It's tough to say anything about our side when he's doing what he's doing."
Lindstrom began the eighth after starter Hector Santiago battled through seven frames, allowing two runs on five hits with nine strikeouts.
The righty reliever gave up singles to Nick Markakis and Adam Jones before Thornton relieved him. The first pitch Davis saw was an 83-mph slider that the slugger -- in the top two of each Triple Crown category and leading the Majors with 32 home runs -- drove into the right-field corner to give Baltimore the 4-2 lead. It led to Chicago's sixth loss in its last seven games.
"When Thornton came in late in the game, I know that's a situation where he doesn't want to get behind with two runners on in a close game and I was just looking for something up in the zone," Davis said.
Early on, it appeared Santiago wouldn't make it through the first inning. The lefty issued a walk and two singles as Baltimore jumped out to a 1-0 lead, and the White Sox had Ramon Troncoso warming in the bullpen before an out was recorded. But following a visit by pitching coach Don Cooper, Santiago retired the next three batters, including strikeouts of Davis and Matt Wieters, to minimize the damage.
"There was a time where I threw a pitch and I walked off and kinda heard another glove pop, and was like, 'Oh, he's going early, huh?'" Santiago said. "Then right there, you're kind of just like, 'Settle down and get after it.'"
Chicago battled right back, as Alex Rios singled off Orioles starter Scott Feldman with two outs in the bottom half of the first, then scored on an Adam Dunn double to right-center. It was Feldman's first start in an Orioles uniform after he was traded from the Cubs on Tuesday.
The teams later exchanged solo home runs -- Davis hitting his 32nd in the fourth, and Beckham's first in the fifth -- and remained tied heading into the eighth.