If you don’t think a .200-hitting shortstop who’s batting ninth in a struggling lineup can make a difference, well, guess again.
J.J. Hardy, in his first at-bat since April 9, lined a home run to left field leading off the bottom of the third inning.
Mariners 2, Orioles 1.
Hardy worked the count full against Seattle rookie Michael Pineda before homering for the first time since Sept. 8, 2010 against the Royals. Tonight’s ball traveled an estimated 368 feet.
Hardy was batting .200 with no homers and two RBIs before tonight, but he also had three doubles, walked twice and scored four runs. The Orioles were 5-1 with Hardy in the lineup before he went on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.
Welcome back, J.J.