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Nelson Cruz hits 1 of 3 homers by Orioles in 8-2 win over Chris Sale and White Sox

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CHICAGO - Chris Sale and the rest of the Chicago White Sox were left with a strong impression of the Baltimore Orioles.

Sale (10-3) yielded three runs and eight hits in six innings, picking up only his third loss of the season as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Chicago White Sox on Monday night 8-2.

"They're pretty much the whole package," Sale said of Baltimore after the game. "You've got to be sharp and on your A-game when they come into town, and obviously I wasn't tonight."

The White Sox ace now has 11 quality starts in his last 12 games but is 0-2 in three career starts versus Baltimore.

Sale worked out of a jam in the first inning after allowing the first two batters to reach on singles. The left-hander wasn't as fortunate in the second when J.J. Hardy stroked a 1-0 pitch into the left-field bullpen for a 1-0 Baltimore lead.

The Orioles stretched it to 2-0 in the fifth. Nick Markakis singled with one out and Steve Pearce followed with an RBI double to centre. Nelson Cruz then led off the sixth with a homer to left.

"They're in first place for a reason," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "They can swing it. (Sale) wasn't necessarily on tonight, and they worked him over pretty good."

Markakis hit a two-run homer in the eighth, one inning after robbing one with a leaping catch in right field.

On a hard hit ball by White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie, Markakis raced back to the right field wall, leapt and brought back what would have been a go-ahead two-run homer. The Orioles then broke it open with a five-run eighth.

"That was big," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Markakis' catch. "The score won't look like it, but obviously it was a big play."

Markakis was 3 for 5 with two RBIs and two runs, helping the Orioles increase their AL East lead to 7 1/2 games over the idle New York Yankees.

Cruz hit his 32nd homer, passing White Sox rookie Jose Abreu for the American League lead. Cruz is tied with Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins for most in the majors.

Bud Norris (11-7) allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings to win his third straight start.

Norris faced the minimum through six innings. But he quickly found himself in trouble in the seventh after hitting Alejandro De Aza with a pitch and giving up a double to Alexei Ramirez that put runners on second and third with the heart of the Chicago lineup coming up.

Abreu, though, flied out to shallow centre and Adam Dunn struck out. Avisail Garcia came through with a two-run single to make it 3-2, but his two-out knock marked Chicago's final hit of the night.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: 3B Manny Machado will miss at least another week with a sprained right knee he sustained while taking a swing last Monday. Machado didn't play this season until May 1 because of surgery on his left knee in the off-season.

White Sox: CF Adam Eaton (strained right oblique) continues to make progress and the hope is he'll be ready to return when he's eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Sunday. Eaton, though, is likely to go to the minors for a rehab stint before then. "I don't know if it would have to be that long, but you would like to see him make sure that he is feeling 100 per cent," manager Robin Ventura said.

UP NEXT

In the second game of the series Tuesday night, Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (9-5, 3.68 ERA) faces LHP Jose Quintana (6-9, 3.14).

ALL DUNN?

Adam Dunn's four-year, $40 million contract is up at the end of this season and the slugger hinted Monday there is a possibility he could retire.

Dunn, who turns 35 in November, has 459 homers and could move way up the all-time list by sticking around a few more years (he's just three away from tying Jose Canseco for 34th place). But he said numbers, even the possibility of hitting 500 homers, won't be a determining factor. "It's going to be a decision where I'm going to sit down with the people who are important to me and make a quick decision," he said. "Whether it's tomorrow (or) whether it's February, I don't know."

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