Speaking for myself, I feel that there’s always something special about our roots. Not everyone feels that way, but I do. I think that Adam Jones does also, and he certainly gave himself the hero’s welcome back in his hometown of San Diego last night. Jones went 4-for-4 in the game with a homer and two RBI, to help lift the Baltimore Orioles to a 4-1 victory over San Diego. Starter Bud Norris won his second game as an Oriole; Norris’ line: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Norris and Jones are two of six Orioles with strong Southern California ties, the others being Scott Feldman, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, and Brian Matusz.
Nate McLouth led off the game with a double to right field, and following a Manny Machado pop out he stole third. After Jones was down 0-2 he managed to work the count full and then send an RBI-single up the middle to give the Birds an early 1-0 lead. However after Chris Davis legged out an infield single, Jones was caught in a rundown between second and third, which in effect got San Diego off the hook. Presumably Jones was unaware that Davis was safe at first, which is why he was so far off the bag at second. Nevertheless that ended the inning, and the Orioles’ shot at a multiple runs early on.
However Jones quickly atoned for that mistake. He led off the fourth with a solo home run, and the O’s led 2-0. There had to be a little extra spring in his step as he rounded the bases, knowing that he grew up in that city and so forth. San Diego got to within 2-1 as Chris Denorfia scored on an RBI-single in the last of the sixth, but that was as close as the Orioles allowed it to be. Jones once again figured into the scoring picture when he singled in the eighth, promptly stole second, and then scored on Chris Davis’ RBI-double. That gave the Birds a 3-1 lead late in the game, a lead that was extended to 4-1 on Manny Machado’s RBI-single in the ninth. Jim Johnson came on to close out the game in the ninth, and allowed a one-out single. However the following batter grounded into a double play, and the Orioles had themselves a 4-1 victory in San Diego to open up an eight-game western road trip.
For the record pitcher Bud Norris took two turns at the plate under National League rules, going 1-for-2 in the game. Traditionally Oriole pitchers seem to do relatively well at the plate in these interleague games, a comment that’s headlined by Zach Britton‘s first career homer at Atlanta in 2011. Norris of course spent time as an NL pitcher when Houston was in the National League, so he’s swung the stick before. Scott Feldman is the team’s best hitting pitcher…according to Scott Feldman. Speaking of which, according to Buck Showalter Feldman will pitch either Monday or Tuesday in Arizona. He’s being pushed back with multiple off days this week.
For the record, Adam Jones tied a career high going 4-for-4 in last night’s game. He’s 8-for-15 lifetime in games played at San Diego, so while Baltimore is now his home and will be for the foreseeable future, it’s obvious that he turns it up a notch when he has the rare opportunity to play in his true hometown. This isn’t something that’s unique to Jones, as I feel that quite a few athletes play well when their franchises play in their hometowns. Nevertheless, this short two-game series continues and concludes late this afternoon in a 3:40 PM eastern time start. The Orioles will send Miguel Gonzalez to the hill in the wake of two lackluster starts. He’ll be pitching in a pitcher’s park in Petco Field, so that might give him a bit of an edge. Gonzalez will be opposed by Eric Stults of San Diego.