May 3, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) singles during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jones broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday in the series finale (home) game in St. Petersburg against the Rays. After pushing three previous base hits through the infield, Jones hit a sharp liner to center field to drive in the runners at second and third base. It was a game-winner.
As I wrote in yesterday’s article about the Saturday game, though Jones only registered one hit on an elusive ground ball through the infield, his three previous outs were all screamers hit right at someone. So Jones was due to have some better luck, but seeing a player zoned in quite so much as Adam is right now is very, very rare.
Here we are only 23 games into this season and Adam Jones has registered hits in 18 of them, including four hits on three separate occasions. He is now batting .402. It was the 16th game of his career (all with Baltimore) where Adam had four hits. Jones had three four-hit games in all of 2014, one in 2013, two in 2012, three in 2011, one in 2010 and 2009, and two in 2008. He has never had a five-hit game, but I would not count it out this season.
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If I was a Tampa Bay Rays writer, I would be laying this game on manager Kevin Cash. He pulled his very effective starter Nathan Karns after five innings of two-hit ball with only 66 pitches thrown. He then went through a series of five relievers. On one hand you might understand this, in that the Rays’ bullpen has been extraordinarily good. Cash later pulled Steve Geltz – who, in spite of having the silly head-lifting antics like the uber-ridiculous Papelbon, had some nasty movement on his pitches. Bringing in Kevin Jepsen, he immediately surrendered three hits and the game to the Orioles.
After a day off today, the Orioles are on to New York for six games – two with the Mets, followed by four with the division-leading Yankees. It will be interesting to see if the O’s starting pitchers can continue with quality starts. They have registered six consecutively, and the Birds have won five of those games. Pitching is where it all starts.