Baltimore Orioles, Adam Jones find a way to win in the end
Prime time players come through in the clutch, and that’s exactly what Adam Jones did for the Baltimore Orioles last night. It’s always tough to win when you’re not playing your best game, but that’s what Jones propelled the O’s to do. Tampa starter Moore kept them at bay for seven innings. But once he was out of the way, the Orioles worked their magic.
Chris Tillman put forth one of his best starts in some time, and in fact he pitched better than the numbers indicate. Tillman’s line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Tillman gave up a solo home run, and then fell victim to several incredibly strange circumstances to yield those two additional runs. Then again, Tampa’s used to being the beneficiary of strange circumstances when they play the Orioles – so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.
But even the third inning home run off the bat of Tampa’s Jaso was strange. It hit the catwalk on the ceiling of Tropicana Field, and never came down – ruled a homer in accordance with the ground rules. As a pitcher there wasn’t much Tillman could do about it, and the O’s trailed 1-0. With two outs and runners at first and second the strangeness started in the sixth. Matt Wieters threw behind Souza, the runner at first base. However the throw hit Souza’s leg and the runner at second went to third.
You can’t daw this type of stuff up. And it’s exactly the type of thing that happens to the Orioles when they play Tampa. Beckham proceeded to hit a faint an infield RBI-single, and Tampa led 2-0. The O’s brought Matusz in to match up with Tampa’s Kiermaier; who managed to roll over a infield RBI-single of his own to first base. That seemed to open up the game for Tampa at 3-0.
So the Orioles were victim of a home run that might have been assisted by the fact that it hit the catwalk, and two RBI-singles – which resulted from a throw hitting a runner. Tampa was barely touching the ball and they were seemingly scoring at will. Yet the O’s tried to tear the cover off the ball in each at bat and were coming up empty-handed.
I likened it on twitter to trying desperately to get with a lady friend – perhaps in high school. You’re pulling out all the stops and trying everything you know to get her to go out with you, only to consistently be stonewalled. Then someone else presents her with a simple dandellion, and she melts. I suppose all you can say is that sometimes life just isn’t fair!
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But just as is the case in the wild card standings, these Orioles still had a heartbeat. With two on and two out in the eighth, Steve Clevenger came up big with an RBI-single. Manny Machado then came to the plate and smacked an RBI-single into the outfield. At that point Tampa appeared to be in full collapse mode, as Jones made his way to the plate in the wake of an intentional walk of Chris Davis to load the bases…
…and as I said, clutch players make clutch plays. Jones jumed on the first pitch he
Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
saw, and sent it the opposite way. Since most outfields play Jones to pull, there was no amazing or quirky thing that Tampa could pull to catch that ball. When the smoke cleared it was a two-RBI single, and the O’s held a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. Tampa went quietly after that, and the O’s had themselves a very improbable win.
The victory leaves the O’s at only 4.5 games out of the final wild card spot. They’re still looking at fairly tough odds, and they need some other teams to fall apart while they continue to win. However mind you that they’ve picked up two games in less than a week’s time. That makes a world of difference. If they can continue the momentum and have a good weekend in Tampa combined with a good series in Washington next week, they’ll have a fighting chance.
The series continues this evening with Tyler Wilson getting his first start in some time. He’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Drew Smyly. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: A look back at clinch-mas