Just before he took off running for second base on a hit and run in the bottom of the ninth inning, Chris Dickerson of the Baltimore Orioles could be seen talking with Jeff Keppinger of the White Sox at first base. What did Keppinger say? With runners at the corners, one out and Chicago ahead by two runs, it evidently wasn't "watch out for the fake."
Dickerson, inserted into the game as a pinch runner because of his speed, did not pick up that teammate Brian Roberts had hit a playable pop up to shallow right field. Instead, Dickerson saw infielder Alexei Ramirez motion as if he were making a play on a ground ball. Dickerson completely fell for it, sliding head first into the bag. By the time he realized where the ball was — in the glove of second baseman Marcus Semien — the White Sox were turning the easiest double play of their lives.
Dickerson needed to pick up the ball, or pick up a base coach, or pick up his head and look around. Something needed to be picked up. Via the Associated Press:
''I didn't peek and it ended up in the one place where you're not going to get that awareness reaction from the infielders,'' Dickerson said. ''Especially Ramirez with the deke. That pretty much got me. I assumed there was a ground ball hit behind me and he was going to first because I was already there.''
The White Sox had snuffed Baltimore's rally, winning 4-2 at Camden Yards on Sunday. At least Hawk Harrelson was happy for once on Chicago's 1-9 road trip.
The Orioles went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners. Instead of a four-game series sweep to help the O's keep pace in the wild card race, they fell two games behind the Tampa Bay Rays with 20 to play.
It sounds like the pressure of the pennant race is getting to the Orioles a little.
''I think there are times when I think we put a little too much pressure on ourselves,'' said Chris Davis, who went 0 for 3. ''That's the nature of the beast. You want to go out there. Everybody wants to be the guy to get the big hit or score the big run. We had a lot of fun last year. We were really enjoying ourselves and enjoying the competition, and the fact that we were in the race. I think that's something we really need to get back to.''
There's still time, Chris Davis!