Not Up to the Task Baldwin Fails in Big Start

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Byline: Scot Gregor Daily Herald Sports Writer

BOSTON - On Thursday, the White Sox knew they were playing their most important game of the season. And they responded like a team that wants to be in the playoffs, bashing Baltimore 11-3 and cutting the Orioles' wild-card lead to a half-game.

What the Sox apparently forgot on Friday night, though, is that every game they play these final two weeks is also the biggest of the season.

Instead of pumping up the momentum they took out of Baltimore, the White Sox deflated against the Red Sox, dropping a 9-5 decision at rainy Fenway Park. The Orioles beat the Tigers and opened their wild-card lead back to 1 1/2 games.

"That's one of the reasons why it was so important to win (Thursday)," said Sox manager Terry Bevington. "If we can stay within 1, 1 1/2, 2 games out, something in that range, with over 10 games (actually 14) left to play, we're still in pretty good shape. But if we start getting down 3 1/2, 4 games, that's not a good situation."

James Baldwin watched Alex Fernandez work over the Orioles on Thursday and decided he'd shoot for the same success level against the Red Sox. As it turned out, the rookie right-hander pitched like ... a rookie.

"I wish I could have pitched better because we really needed this game," said Baldwin (11-5), who gave up 6 runs on 8 hits and was gone after only 2 1/3 innings.

"I lasted only 2 1/3 innings; that's something I'm not very pleased with. Alex pitched very well for us (Thursday) night and I wanted to do the same thing. …