Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones’ homer snaps losing streak


Adam Jones came into yesterday’s series finale with Houston having not homered in 20 games and 83 at-bats. Certainly Jones was probably more concerned about the five-game losing streak in which the Baltimore Orioles were mirred moreso than his own personal stats, however in the back of his mind he undoubtably knew he hadn’t homered since May 11th. What he didn’t know was that his homerless streak and the Orioles’ fortunes were about to change…

…and for the better at that. Winning the series finale after dropping the first two or three games in a series serves as only a device by which to gain back a bit of pride in a sense. However it sure as heck beats losing and getting swept in a four-game set.

This is not to say that the Orioles didn’t have their struggles in this game as well. However they did something that we hadn’t seen in a while: they came through in the clutch, and resembled the 2014 incarnation of the team moreso than anything we’ve seen thus far this year.

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Wei-Yin Chen pitched a great game, which really set the table for what the Orioles would do later. Chen’s line: 6.1 IP,  5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K. Chen however was matched against Houston started Dallas Keuchel, who took advantage early of a fairly wide strike zone.

After Ryan Flaherty became the fifth Oriole to strike out (on a particularly generous call) in the top of the second inning, Buck Showalter came out of the dugout and emphatically showed home plate umpire Brian Gorman how far outside the third strike was. This earned Showalter his first ejection of the year, and the right to watch the rest of the game on TV.

However Showalter stayed around long enough to see the Orioles take a short-lived lead. Manny Machado came into score on Chris Davis‘ RBI-single in the first inning, and the Orioles led 1-0.

However the Birds had led this Houston team before, and sure enough they weren’t going quietly into the night. Hank Conger‘s third inning home run tied the game at one,  and one inning later Luis Valbuena‘s sac fly-RBI gave Houston a 2-1 lead.

However it was an Oriole mistake that led to the Birds being down. Valbuenda’s sac fly probably wasn’t deep enough to score a run.

However Delmon Young air mailed the throw from right field, allowing Evan Gattis to score. Defensive lapses as such have killed this team to this point – but would it hold up? 

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  • Following a sixth inning single, Adam Jones made it to second base on a Chris Davis fielder’s choice. However on that play some very Oriole-like things started to happen to Houston.

    How many times have the O’s played a shift on someone only to have the hitter get on base by hitting against the shift? So Davis grounded out to short, however by virtue of the shift shortstop Marvin Gonzalez was unable to tag Jones out to start a 6-4-3 double play. Jones slid into second base safely, and then…

    …he scored on Steve Pearce‘s subsequent RBI-double to tie the game at two. That’s exactly the type of thing that would happen and has happened to the Orioles; if they hadn’t been playing the shift, the inning would have been over. And if anything, that started to give the Orioles some momentum in the game.

    After Chen left, Darren O’Day pitched about as solidly as he has all season long, bringing the Orioles into the eighth inning where he gave way to Zach Britton.

    However prior to O’Day leaving the game, Adam Jones came to bat in the top of the eighth and the game tied. Jones of course smacked a “no doubter,” which gave the O’s a 3-2 lead.

    Not only did it bust Jones out of his homerless drought, but it was also the first home run the Orioles had hit at Minute Maid Park during this series. And it certainly couldn’t have come at a better time.

    Britton recorded a rare five-out save, and the Orioles snapped their five-game losing streak. To top it off, J.J. Hardy entered the game as a defensive replacement in the last of the ninth at shortstop. So Orioles fans went from worrying about Hardy having to go to the DL, to having him on the field in the game.

    The Orioles now head to Cleveland for a three-game set, where they’ll be joined by catcher Matt Wieters. Presumable a roster move will be made, as Wieters is expected to start behind the dish tomorrow night.

    I would expect Steve Clevenger to be the one to go. Chris Tillman will be on the mound for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Shaun Marcum. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Buck Showalter in a tough spot

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