Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones bats Birds to Twin City glory
Adam Jones broke out of what’s been a season-long slup with a homer and a game-winning two-RBI single as the O’s defeated Minnesota, 5-3.
If there’s one thing the Baltimore Orioles have missed in their offense thus far, it’s been Adam Jones‘ bat. Jones of course has started the season in a perpetual slump, making people question whether or not he’s truly healthy. At least for one game, he was able to put those questions to bed last night. He looked like the Jones that the Orioles know and love, as it was his clutch hitting that led them along and ultimately won the game for them.
Jones has been fairly clutch for the O’s since coming to Baltimore, but he started having some injury issues at the tail end of last season. He then missed a week or so of the beginning of this season with a sore rib cage, and the slump he’s been in since then had people questioning whether he should be in the lineup. While the thought had crossed my own mind as well, I’ve always said that Adam Jones is a true professional at what he does, and that I would tend to defer to his judgement in terms of whether he was hurting the team by playing.
And that decision paid off last night. The Orioles also got six solid innings from Kevin Gausman, although he seemed to tire at the end. Unfortunately for him, he left the game in line to get a no decision. However he put the O’s in a position to win, which came later. Gausman’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 9 K.
Minnesota took an early lead on Plouffe’s sac fly-RBI in the last of the first. However Gausman did a fine job of minimizing the damage and ensuring that was the only run that crossed the plate. And often times that’s all a pitcher needs to do – especially when he has an offense like that of the Orioles behind him.
The O’s would tie the game in the fourth on Matt Wieters‘ RBI-single. Wieters would also take second base on an E2, however that’s all the Birds could muster. It wasn’t until an inning later when things got cooking. Manny Machado‘s solo home run gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead. That was followed up by Jones smacking a hanging slider way out of the ballpark. He hit the ball into the second of five decks in the Target Field
grandstand, and gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead.
That had to feel good for Jones, who at some point has had to head the criticism and the whispers of whether or not he should be in the lineu.p. Plus regardless of what fans and media say, players know when they’re not cutting it. None more so than a true professional of his craft like Adam Jones. The pitch he hit out was a little high, but the fact is that he squared it up and got it.
However as Gausman was starting to tire, Minnesota took advantage of an opportunity of them own. Following a two-out walk in the last of the sixth, Plouffe struck again – this time in the for of a two-run homer which tied the game. Overall Gausman pitched fairly well in the game, however he made one bad pitch. Minnesota took advantage.
The Oriole bullpen bridged the gap so to speak very nicely last night, with Brach and O’Day pitching the seventh and eighth innings respectively. With two outs in the ninth Rickard sent a double into the gap, which Minnesota followed up with a walk to Manny Machado. Both players would later advance into scoring position on a wild pitch, and Jones strode to the plate with an opportunity to do some damage right then and there…
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…and he took advantage. Jones has been one of the most clutch players in recent history for the O’s, and he did it again last night. Jones smacked a line drive towards left center, which at one point looked like it was going to be caught. But it dipped in the air at the last minute, and deflectedoff of the Minnesota outfielder. That two-RBI single effectively won the game for the O’s, allowing Jones to play the role of hero for the first time this season.
This game was shaping up to be a Minnesota victory in the sense that the Orioles were once again forced into playing another team’s game. Minnesota’s seven wins over the O’s last year were all textbook examples of small ball, which is what they play. That seemed to rule the night in a sense last night as well, but in the end Oriole bats came through. This could be the type of win that you circle on the schedule later on as one that really lifted the team when it was needed.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Mark Trumbo's sensational start transform O's as Contenders
Once again weather permitting, the O’s will conclude what turned into a two-game set in Minnesota this afternoon. Tyler Wilson will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Phil Hughes. Again if the weather cooperates, game time is set for just after 1 PM this afternoon.