Shortstop J.J. Hardy has produced his third multi-homer game of the season and the seventh of his career.
Bat him first. Bat him second. Just keep him in the lineup.
Hardy took Tigers starter Brad Penny deep again in the bottom of the fifth inning to reduce Detroit’s lead to 4-3.
Hardy also homered twice on July 26 and July 28 in Toronto. In between, he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
Hardy has three RBIs tonight, raising his season total to 58 to go with his 23 home runs.
It’s interesting that Nolan Reimold is playing left field and Alfredo Simon started tonight. The Orioles almost sent them to the Rays during the winter meetings for shortstop Jason Bartlett.
Simon lasted 4 2/3 innings tonight and was charged with four runs and 11 hits, with three walks and one strikeout. He threw 97 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Update: It took only two batters for the Tigers to reclaim the lead in the sixth. Austin Jackson doubled off Troy Patton and Andy Dirks grounded an RBI single up the middle.
Adam Jones sailed his throw over Matt Wieters’ head, allowing Dirks to advance to second. Patton forgot to back up home plate.
Magglio Ordonez followed with a grounder to short that should have been a double play. Instead, Hardy threw to Mark Reynolds, who applied the tag on Dirks. Hardy then made a diving stop of Miguel Cabrera’s sharp grounder and threw to second for the force.