Not that I expected him to do it.
Bell committed an error and failed to make a play in the decisive eighth inning that allowed the go-ahead run to score. Jones made a poor throw that put the go-ahead run in scoring position before Bell’s botched attempt to field a grounder to his left side.
“The bunt play’s about as good a play as you’ll ever see a third baseman make,” Showalter said, choosing instead to focus on Bell’s barehanded pickup and throw to retire Juan Pierre in the ninth.
“He had a couple he’s capable of better, but he had a couple good at-bats tonight and made some plays. That score might not have been a one-run game if he hadn’t made them, too, so I’ll keep that in mind.”
Was Jones trying to do too much?
“Without a doubt,” Showalter replied. “He knows. As soon as he came in the dugout, he was kicking himself. But he had a play earlier in the year where it didn’t look like he had any chance and he threw the guy out. I guess when you have an arm like that, you feel like you can throw everybody out.”
Jim Johnson took the loss after being charged with two runs in the eighth.
“I can’t fault him,” Showalter said. “Ground balls and the flare. Had little different borderline pitches going different way late in the game. You could see that in the ninth inning for sure with (Sergio) Santos. But I’m proud of the way we battled back, being down 4-0.
“Jeremy (Guthrie) didn’t quite have the depth on his breaking ball early, but next thing you know, he’s sitting out there after seven innings. I think he made some adjustments and got a little more depth with his breaking ball and he just had that one inning that got away from him. But I’m proud of the fact that he gave us seven innings and gave us a chance to win the game. He was part of us getting back into it and not having to empty the bullpen.”
J.J. Hardy doubled twice, homered and drove in four runs. The Orioles collected five hits or fewer in all three games that Hardy missed with a sore left ankle.
“He’s had a lot of good at-bats,” Showalter said. “He’s sitting there breaking ball, breaking ball, and the guy tried to rush a fastball by him in, and he kept his hands in. He’s the one guy who can keep a cutter fair. (John) Danks is pitching pretty well now since that slow start. And if you look, most of our quality at-bats tonight off him were the other way. You could tell (Matt) Wieters had an approach to him coming in and a lot of our guys didn’t make the same adjustment. But J.J.s one of those guys who can keep that ball fair because of his approach to hitting, and he got a result for it. It’s nice to have him back.
“I haven’t spoken to him yet about how he felt, but Richie (Bancells) was checking on him. Seemed like he felt good. And looking forward to getting Chris (Davis) back tomorrow.”