In Baltimore Orioles news, shortstop J.J. Hardy has learned how to participate in the Jonathan Schoop and Nelson Cruz hand slap and shoulder bump celebration! The funky high-low, front-back slaps that end in a shoulder bump has a decidedly Caribbean flair about it. Whenever Schoop or Cruz hits a home run, the other is the first guy at the top of the dugout steps to participate in the ritual.
Recently, I have seen Hardy being taught the routine in the dugout by his double-play partner. And Hardy got to use it with Schoop on Thursday night to celebrate the ninth victory of the homestand after making a great stop and throw for the final out in the O’s 9-7 win over the Reds.
Cruz and Schoop have had a lot of opportunity to use the celebration of late. Cruz opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning Thursday night. Nick Hundley belted a three-run bomb also in inning one, while Schoop later added a solo shot. For Schoop, it was his third home run in the three-game series, although this one did not end up in the Reds’ bullpen as did the previous blasts.
But the most important hit of the evening came from J.J. Hardy. After the Orioles pitching staff allowed the Reds to come back from 6-0 and 7-2 deficits to tie the game 7-7 in the top of the seventh inning, Hardy delivered in the bottom of that frame with a bases-loaded, two-out line drive single to drive home the deciding runs. Hardy is batting well over .300 in RISP situations. Yes, make a contract to bring him back.
It was a good series and homestand for a lot of the Orioles hitters. The home runs have been coming in bunches. The O’s scored 65 runs in the 11 home games. That’s enough runs for cheap pizza for a week and a half!
Here are the stats from six of the Orioles players over the homestand …
The Orioles are now 25 games over .500 and continue at 9.5 and 10 games over the Yankees and Jays who both also won. The remaining 23 games of the regular season are against the AL East, beginning with a weekend series in Tampa.