The Orioles hadn’t scored against Royals closer Joakim Soria in 12 career games against him covering 11 1/3 innings.
Until tonight, that is.
They tied the game on a Felix Pie pinch-hit double and won it on Adam Jones’ sixth home run of the season, a 418-foot shot to center field with two outs.
Pie is 2-for-2 lifetime against Soria. Jones is 1-for-5 with three strikeouts - and one very big home run.
“It was him or (Ryan) Adams and I decided not to pinch-hit there,” manager Buck Showalter said, grinning. “The thing about baseball is, if you go in that clubhouse and you ask them how many runs we’ve scored against Soria, I don’t know how many of them would really know that, and I’m not going to remind them. What are they going to change? That’s why everything looks one way on paper and you play it.
“I can’t tell you how many times I thought we had something wired in our favor and you go back to the hotel or house or lockerroom and you say, ‘Geez, that wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.’ So you keep pounding and you realize that’s not always the case. Tonight’s one of those nights.
“Sometimes, you’ve got to do it against the good guys. We talk about it all the time. I don’t want to hear people talk about, ‘Oh, we face such good pitching in the American League East every night.’ Guess what? That’s what it is. You’ve got to beat the good guys, too. That’s why they call it the big leagues. I don’t like our chances every night down by one run against him, I can tell you that, but we were fortunate.”
Zach Britton gutted out six innings and 101 pitches, allowing three runs and a career-high nine hits.
“I think it’s the first humid, sticky night, which we all know is going to be quite a few of them from here on out, and I think Zach got just a little weary there,” Showalter said. “It was good to see him fight through that at the end. You’ve got to match their energy. That’s a young, up and coming club that’s loaded with prospects and uptempo guys. You’ve got to match what they bring.”
Showalter let Britton pitch to Alex Gordon, who homered earlier, with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. Gordon popped up to short.
“We knew it was his last hitter and Mark (Connor) wanted to give him a blow,” Showalter said. “You could tell he was leaking oil there a little bit there, and to be able to get an out there against a guy who’s had some success against him in this game ...”
Asked how he felt to hit a walk-off homer, Jones replied, “First time I ever got one like that, so I didn’t feel nothing, to be honest with you.
“I was looking at the at-bat that he did to (Robert) Andino. I feel that if he threw me a curveball, I can probably just stay back or something. I was thinking he was going to try to go up and he didn’t go up enough.
“We hate closers in here. We want to give all the closers Ls. We were able to do it. We’ve gotten to a few closers here this year. That’s what it comes down to. They’re trying to close us out and we ain’t letting them go.”
Jones knew he had cleared center fielder Melky Cabrera’s head.
“Once I’d seen him turning, I was about halfway to first and like, ‘Yeah,’” Jones said. “I’m not strong enough to know if that one goes out to center field.
“It felt good getting punched in the stomach and ribs.”