Nolan Reimold ended tonight’s game with one out in the 10th inning by launching a ball 430 feet into the visiting bullpen.
“Good for Nolan,” manager Buck Showalter said after the Orioles’ 6-4 win. “Put a good swing on it. You could tell he had little approach there, what he was looking for, and he didn’t miss it.
“I think he just missed a ball earlier, too. Nolan’s a strong guy with a lot of skills. Not very often do the waters part and there’s just an open-end ticket. He’s got some skills that could play up here if he can grasp some of the small things, and tonight he got a good return for some of the work he’s been putting in. I know he was excited. So were we. I know you all were, too.”
With first base open in the seventh, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen ordered an intentional walk to Chris Davis with Reimold on deck. Reimold grounded into a force at second to end the inning.
Maybe Reimold was a little more motivated in the 10th.
“He put a pretty good swing on there,” Showalter said. “We were fine either way. I understand their thinking. I don’t think that really figures into it after the fact, but at the time...That’s one thing. When you’re thinking about intentionally walking somebody, the next guy, how does that affect him mentally? Some guys, that kind of works to their advantage, but I don’t think that played into it necessarily.”
Tommy Hunter left after 6 2/3 innings with the Orioles holding a 4-2 lead, but Jason Berken let two inherited runners score.
“Hunter was good tonight,” Showalter said. “We got him about 10 pitches more than when he was out there last time. Tommy was impressive. Got a chance to do some good things for us. A little stronger cutter, a little more breaking ball. He was good.”
Jim Johnson escaped a jam in the eighth after hitting Carlos Quentin and giving up a single to A.J. Pierzynski with no outs.
“Pitching isn’t always fair,” Showalter said. “Berken comes in and gives up a ground ball, a broken-bat flare and makes a great pitch to get (Paul) Konerko out. J.J. understands that and he probably could reach back to some (similar) times. There’s an experience level that you’ve seen him kind of evolve into a guy who doesn’t really shake in those situations. He understands what he’s got to do to be successful and he knows we’re going to give him the rest he needs. When he’s out there, he gives us a chance. He’s got a lot of weapons.
“An example: He hits Quentin with a curveball, and a lot of guys would take that completely out of their pitching repertoire the rest of their appearance, but he makes a good curveball strike later on in that inning. That’s the way hitters think. When they see you have poor command of a ball on one pitch, a certain pitch in their repertoire, they sort of box it out of thinking that you’re going to throw it again. I said something in the dugout to one of the coaches, ‘He wouldn’t have done that last year. He wouldn’t have come back with that pitch again.’”
Adam Jones batted cleanup tonight and came within a triple of the cycle.
“I think you’ve seen some maturity where Adam is concerned,” Showalter said. “He’s 26 now. He’s had a tough last few games, and I thought it was a good time to give him a little push of confidence there. I considered DHing him tonight to get him off the field, but he means a lot to us when he’s not necessarily doing the things he’s spoiled us with all year. He’s having his best year as a professional, in the big leagues anyway, and that bodes well because you’ve got to fight your way through some tough times and it’s not always going to be easy. But he’s grinded his way through it and I’m proud of him.”