CHICAGO -- That second win will have to wait.
Orioles' Opening Day starter Jeremy Guthrie, who took a 2.53 ERA into Monday, has been let down all season by an erratic O's lineup that has been unable to back his four quality starts with enough support for the "W."
Guthrie (1-4) wasn't at his best Monday night, and the Orioles' timely hitting -- which entered the game third best in the American League with runners in scoring position --has never been worse. The result was a 6-2 loss to the White Sox, a defeat that denied Baltimore what would have been its first four-game sweep in the Windy City since 1995 and left Guthrie frustrated and dejected afterward.
"I had chances to finish people," said an unusually abrupt Guthrie, whose voice was flat following seven innings of four-run baseball. "[I] didn't do it."
Monday's defeat put a damper on an otherwise encouraging series in Chicago, handing Guthrie his fourth loss of the season and giving the Orioles (13-14) a serious scare in the ninth inning, when Nick Markakis was hit on the right hand by a 94-mph fastball from White Sox left-hander Chris Sale. Markakis immediately exited the game, although the initial diagnosis is that the team dodged a bullet and Sale's full-count offering didn't cause any serious damage.
"We got lucky," manager Buck Showalter said of Markakis' hand, which didn't require a follow-up X-ray. "I'm more concerned about his knee. He dove for [A.J. Pierznyski's] ball in the eighth and landed on a sprinkler head."
Markakis, who had ice on both areas after the game, downplayed both situations and didn't think either would cause him to be out of Tuesday's starting lineup in Kansas City.
"For the most part, that at-bat [in the ninth], it didn't catch me right on the bone of my hand. It kind of pinched the bottom of my hand," Markakis said. "It stung for a little bit, but I think I'll be all right to go."
Markakis was replaced by pinch-runner Cesar Izturis, who scored on Derrek Lee's homer -- the only offense on a frustrating night that ended in White Sox starter Mark Buehrle's 150th career win. Buehrle blanked a Baltimore squad that scored 22 runs in the first three games of the series, holding the Orioles to 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and nine men stranded in the first six innings alone.
Despite working Buehrle for eight hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings, Baltimore had nothing to show for it -- twice grounding into key double plays. Seven of the Orioles' nine starters reached base off Buehrle, who turned in his second scoreless outing of the year despite having 12 men reach base off him in the 107-pitch affair.
"The offense clicked," Buehrle said. "I went out there and pitched good enough to hold them down. It was kind of an ugly win."
It was an uglier loss, as the usually verbose Guthrie -- who cracked jokes in his last postgame media session -- gave inexact answers and shied away from discussing the lack of run support that has become synonymous with his every start.
"He really wanted to finish that game," said Showalter, who commented that Guthrie had "complete game" type of stuff. "He's a little frustrated."
And rightfully so.
In Guthrie's 18 losses since 2010, the Orioles have scored 24 runs when he's pitching. The O's have scored three runs or fewer in 22 of his 38 starts in the past two seasons, and including Monday's loss, the Orioles have scored a combined six runs in the last five games when Guthrie has been on the hill. The team has scored just 15 runs total in the six games Guthrie has started this season.
"I just have to make good pitches," Guthrie said when asked about how he stays sane given the lack of run support.
Teammate Adam Jones was more forthcoming. Asked if Guthrie deserved a better fate again on Monday night in what is becoming a disturbing trend, the O's center fielder responded: "Exactly."
"We were unable to get a hit with a runner in scoring position, and that went all night," Jones said. "It's unfortunate, it [stinks]. But sometimes it's how the game goes."
Since winning his Opening Day start against Tampa Bay, Guthrie is 0-4 with a 3.38 ERA. He allowed four runs on five hits and a season-high two walks on Monday, raising his season ERA to an even 3.00.
"He's doing great," Markakis said of Guthrie. "He need to just keep plugging away, doing what he's supposed to do. And eventually we will get things rolling for him."
Struggling reliever Josh Rupe allowed Chicago to extend its lead to six with a two-run homer from Paul Konerko -- who also went deep for a solo homer off Guthrie in the fourth -- with two outs in the eighth. Rupe has allowed five homers in eight outings -- a stretch of 10 2/3 innings -- and his latest allowed Chicago more than enough cushion to snap a five-game losing streak.
"We had an opportunity," Showalter said of the series sweep. "We put those three games [earlier in the series] behind us. We knew Buehrle was going to be tough, but we liked our chances with [Guthrie]. We'll move on. We'll turn the page and Kansas City is playing well. We'll have our hands full."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.