Oriole All-Stars means good baseball in Baltimore
NEW YORK – Adam Jones put the moment into perspective.
“It’s off the greatest closer in the history of the game. I’ll always remember it. You’ve got to win, and we haven’t been playing that well.”
The Orioles were minutes away from being shut out, from a three-game sweep and a four-game losing streak. Mariano Rivera came into the game with a 1-0 lead to protect, and quickly got the first out.
Then, Nick Markakis hit a long fly ball to right that went just foul, and then singled. Up came Jones, who hadn’t had a home run since June 16, and whose frustrations were typified by a video of him slamming a helmet in the runway on Friday night.
On a 0-1 count, Jones hit his 16th home run of the season, and the Orioles suddenly had a 2-1 lead.
In came embattled closer Jim Johnson, and two strikeouts and a grounder later, he had his 30th save.
“Kind of reminiscent of last year, it felt like,” Johnson said.
The Orioles had a 2-1 win before 40,218 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, and even though they had a 2-4 road trip, it looked better than 1-5.
“We still lost the series, but we were able to salvage the series,” Jones said.
Orioles fans have been critical of Johnson, hoping that manager Buck Showalter was going to replace him as a closer.
Not a chance.
“He’s a horse,” Showalter said.
Darren O’Day (5-0), who recorded two outs in the eighth, was the winner. O’Day is now 12-1 in two seasons with the Orioles (49-40).
T.J. McFarland pitched two strong innings in relief of Jason Hammel.
"I just found out he was sick as a dog today. Nobody told me. One of his bullpen mates said, 'I don't know how he even got to the mound today.' Gave him a little better sinker, I guess," Showalter said.
Hammel saw his winless streak extend to seven, but this was the only one of the games the Orioles won.
He allowed one run on six hits in five innings. He threw 102 pitches on a very warm day.
Hiroki Kuroda, who shut out the Orioles on five hits in April on a cold Bronx night, allowed just three hits in seven innings. David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth to set it up for Rivera.
“We can put up some runs in a hurry. It was disappointing, obviously that that we were keep grinding out at-bats and had nothing to show for it. Hats off to Kuroda, he threw a great game and it was just that one big swing at the end of the game. It was pretty loud in here, pretty exciting,” Hammel said.
Rivera (1-2) had a streak of 41 consecutive saves at Yankee Stadium end. He last blew a save at home on Sept. 26, 2010.
‘You don't want to go out there and get swept, especially by teams like this in your division. It shows you what our team is made of. We're going to play every out until the end,” Markakis said.
Markakis had three hits in a stadium where his lifetime batting average is .333.
“You don't want to go out there and get swept, especially by teams like this in your division. It shows you what our team is made of. We're going to play every out until the end,” Markakis said.
The Yankees scored their run in the second when Hammel walked Zoilo Almonte to lead off. Lyle Overbay singled him to third, and Almonte scored on Eduardo Nunez’s sacrifice fly.
The Orioles had three baserunners in the first six innings. Markakis, who had three hits, singled with two outs in the first, Matt Wieters doubled with one out in the second, and Markakis doubled leading off the fourth.
Baltimore has a 7-5 lead in the season series over New York (48-40).
“We know what division we're in. We know what teams we're facing. We know what we're up against. We've got to battle. It's a long season. We play a lot of games against these guys, a lot of games against these teams in this division. Everybody's good,” Markakis said.
Despite the win, the Orioles have much work to do. They’re tied with Tampa Bay for second place and just one-half game ahead of the Yankees.
“We need to tighten up. We need to clean it up around here. Need to play better baseball as a team, as a unit,” Jones said.
NOTES: Scott Feldman (0-0, 3.00) acquired from the Chicago Cubs last week, starts for the first time at home as an Oriole against the team he started his career with, Texas. The Rangers are starting Derek Holland (6-4, 3.13)