Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones’ defense wins titles

Courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

Adam Jones and Joey Rickard made great defensive plays as the Baltimore Orioles defeated Toronto 4-3. Defense wins championships.

The Baltimore Orioles got dazzling defensive plays from Adam Jones and Joey Rickard last night to help them defeat Toronto 4-3 in extra innings. Defense wins championships, and there’s nary a team out there who’s been able to touch the Orioles’ defense this year. Whether it’s fundamentals or amazing plays, this unit is as solid as they come.

Ubaldo Jimenez had his struggles last night, but he pitched five innings and left the team in a position to win. Jimenez’s line: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 6 K. That’s all you can ask of a starting pitcher, just leave the team in a position to win. Jimenez did just that.

The Birds jumped out to an early lead on a Machado RBI-double in the first inning. Chris Davis would follow with an RBI-single, and later in the inning Mark Trumbo would ground into a double-play with a runner at third. This scored a third run, and the O’s led 3-0. 

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  • Toronto would net a run in the third on an Encarnacion RBI-single, and another in the fifth on a solo homer by Donaldson. But as we’ve said before, solo home runs aren’t going to kill you. Jimenez left the game after the fifth inning with a 3-2 lead.

    Encarnacion’s RBI-double in the seventh would tie the game, disqualifying Jimenez for the win. However it was an inning before that in which we saw the Orioles’ defense starting to take over. With a runner on second, Thole sent a bleeder towards Rickard in left. Rickard made a diving attempt at the ball, however it ticked off his glove…

    …luckily for him, it stayed close. Furthermore, he recovered quickly. With two outs and the runner coming to the plate, Rickard picked up the ball and fired home. When all was said and done, he nailed the runner down at home plate.

    One inning later, Bautista smacked a flair to center, and Jones dove out fully extneded to make the catch. For whatever reason, the runner at third decided not to tag up, and when Jones gunned the ball home he had to stay at third. Now that runner would later score, however the point is that for the moment Jones’ defense saved a run.

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    Courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
    Courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

    Both of these plays embody what the Orioles are about.With Jones you pretty much expect it at this point, however we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Rickard is a Rule 5 pick – he wasn’t even supposed to be here. And on that play make no mistake about the fact that he made a perfect throw. Joseph was able to receive the ball and tag the runner high. I’m not sure he ever touched home plate. As Clint Eastwood said at the end of In the Line of Fire, “…AIM HIGH!”

    But ultimately with the game tied, we went to extra frames. The O’s didn’t get cooking until there were two outs in the last of the tenth, when they eventually loaded the bases. And keep in mind that anything can happen with the bases loaded, even a wild pitch or pass ball. And with Joseph on third, that’s exactly what happened. It was ruled a pass ball, however it could have gone either way. Joseph scored from third when the ball trickled away from home plate, and the O’s defeated Toronto 4-3.

    Again however, make no mistake about the fact that defense won this game for the O’s. Given that it ended on a pass ball perhaps one could say that defense lost it for Toronto, but I digress. It’s plays like what Joey Rickard and Adam Jones turned in last night which win titles. They don’t look so imressive on the stat sheet, however those types of plays win you championships and gold gloves

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Minor League Estate

    The series and the homestand conclude this evening at Camden Yards. Chris Tillman will head to the bump  for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marco Estrada. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.