CHICAGO — When Scott Feldman walked into the Orioles' clubhouse U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday, he saw several familiar faces from his days with the Texas Rangers, only in different uniforms.
And when Feldman made his Orioles debut later that night against the Chicago White Sox, his old buddies helped pick him up in a 4-2 win in front of an announced crowd of 26,001 on Chicago's South Side.
Chris Davis, who played parts of four seasons with Feldman in Texas, drove in three of the Orioles' four runs, hitting a solo homer in the fourth inning and breaking a 2-2 tie with a two-run double in the eighth.
Feldman earned a quality start in his Orioles debut but received a no decision. Darren O'Day (4-0), who was in Feldman's wedding, got the victory out of the bullpen, and fellow ex-Ranger reliever Tommy Hunter threw a scoreless eighth.
“All those guys, all my buddies that I played with back in the day with the Rangers, it was kind of cool to walk in the clubhouse and see familiar faces like that,” Feldman said. “It was fun.
“Last night I had a tough time falling asleep,” Feldman added. “I was up until about 4 in the morning, just excited to get here and put on a new uniform and play with some new teammates.”
With the victory, the Orioles (48-37) are a season-best 11 games over .500 for the third time this year. The Orioles' 23 road wins are second most in the American League, one behind the Rangers' 24.
The second-place Orioles also kept pace with the Boston Red Sox, who still hold a 3 ½-game lead in the American League East after their 2-1 walk-off win over the San Diego Padres.
Feldman, the centerpiece of Tuesday's trade that sent right-handers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Chicago Cubs, gave the Orioles a chance to win heading into the late innings. He allowed two runs on six hits over six innings with six strikeouts and no walks. He left the game in a 2-2 tie.
“You saw a guy with six days rest whose command was off a little early, but you could see in his eyes that he got a little confident as the game went on,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He's got a lot of things, catcher catching a guy for the first time, he's got a pair of pants he's never had on. It didn't look like they fit too well. Had a brand new pair of shoes that probably hurt his feet a little bit. I thought he handled all the adjustments in his life well, but Scotty's been down this road before.”
With the game still tied at 2 in the top of the eighth inning, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones singled off former Orioles reliever Matt Lindstrom (2-3), then Davis pulled an 83-mph, first-pitch slider from Matt Thornton for a double down the right-field line to plate both runners.
Davis had given the Orioles a 2-1 lead with his homer in the fourth on a first-pitch fastball that he hit off the end of his bat and sent the opposite way just over the left-field fence.
Davis now has 32 homers and 83 RBIs, one homer and two RBIs shy of his career highs in those categories, both set last year.
Both of Davis' run-scoring hits Wednesday came on the first pitch after he struck out looking in his first at-bat against White Sox starter Hector Santiago.
“[In] my first at-bat, I wanted to see some pitches,” Davis said. “I hadn't had any at-bats against [Santiago] and I wanted to see how he'd pitch me. In the second at bat, I was looking for a pitch over the plate to drive him. 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.”
After allowing a leadoff double to Jeff Keppinger to open the second, Feldman retired nine straight batters before Gordon Beckham's solo homer to left led off the fifth inning.
Beckham's first homer of the season was the majors-worst 116th that Orioles pitchers have allowed this season.
“There was a couple pitches I wish I could have back, but it really only cost me one run,” Feldman said. “That pitch to Beckham was a bad one.”
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead against Santiago just three batters into the game on Jones' RBI single. After that, the Orioles managed just three more hits off Santiago in his seven innings of work, one of them being Davis' homer.
The White Sox tied the game in the bottom of the first when Feldman allowed a two-out single to Alex Rios and then an RBI double into the right-center field gap by Adam Dunn. But the right-hander settled in after that.
“People underestimate [how tough this situation is]. They think, well, he's been pitching well all year, he's going to keep pitching well,” O'Day said of Feldman. “It's different, you want to impress your teammates, you want to justify the guys they gave up to get you.
“Scott has a got a really good even-keeled temperament. The first couple innings he might have been a little bit jittery, but he settled down. I know he's going to enjoy pitching in front of our defense. I told him, just throw it over the plate, this is the best defense you will pitch for, I can promise you that.”
The Orioles bullpen tossed three scoreless innings.
Despite bringing the potential winning run to the plate in the ninth after allowing one-out singles to Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger, Jim Johnson retired the White Sox (33-48) in the ninth for his 29th save, striking out Beckham looking and inducing a comebacker from Jordan Danks.