Adam Jones stepped to the plate with Chris Davis on first base and nobody out in the bottom of the 12th. The score was tied. For many people, the situation screamed for a bunt, unless a manager chooses to cover his ears.
Jones got the green light and hit his second career walk-off home run to give the Orioles a 6-4 victory at sold-out Camden Yards.
“Obviously, you think about bunting, but I like Adam in that situation,” Showalter said after his club improved to 8-2 in extra innings.
“They’re going to walk (Matt) Wieters if you bunt him. I like putting the game in his hands.”
This is when Showalter starts passing around the accolades.
“Great at-bat by Chris Davis,” he said. “Bullpen pitched great. And Tommy (Hunter) gave up three solos. Still not quite down as much as he needs to be.
“You will not see a better play by a shortstop than J.J. (Hardy) made on the double play. The ball hit the lip and went straight down. You just don’t make those plays. I wish everybody could stand out there and try to make that play.
“(Steve) Pearce made two great plays in left field, Robert (Andino) made a nice play, so if we don’t do some of those things defensively, we’re not sitting here with a W.”
The Orioles have won eight straight extra-inning games. This one extended beyond regulation after Pedro Strop allowed the tying run to score in the eighth.
“It can happen in the 10th. That would be OK. But we’ll take it any way,” Showalter said.
“I can’t tell you there’s any feeling like, ‘Let’s get to extra innings.’ (Strop) made some good pitches. They just put some good swings on them. To be able to beat them in that situation, we were fortunate. You can tell they’ve been involved in a lot of close games with a lot of energy in the ballpark. Good win for us. Good win. Great job by the bullpen.”
Hunter ran his season home run total to 16, but he turned in his second quality start in his last six tries. He didn’t issue a walk today.
“Well, he’s frustrated,” Showalter said. “We get a lead, and we go right back out there and give it up in a hurry. But the key is, if he’s walking people, then once again we’re not sitting here. I think we issued our first walk in extra innings in the whole series, and they’ve got a lot of good hitters. They compensate them well. You can tell why they love them so well. They like these players.(Hunter) Pence is a heck of a player. (Jimmy) Rollins, (Shane) Victorino. That’s some kind of club. I love the catcher (Carlos Ruiz). He’s some kind of player.”
It isn’t usually pretty with Hunter, but you look up at the scoreboard on a day like this one, and he’s carried the game through the seventh and given the Orioles a chance to win.
“Pitch count was way down because he got some double play balls, and we turned a great 4-6-3 with a shift on,” Showalter said. “That’s very difficult for a shortstop to do that. And J.J. made a great turn. Actually, we’ve been practicing it some in spring training because it’s a different look.
“Tommy’s going to keep firing bullets. It’s not that he’s cocky or has too much confidence. It’s just, as long as his powder’s dry, he’s going to keep letting it rip.”
Down on the farm, Jamie Moyer allowed one hit and struck out five over five innings in his debut with Triple-A Norfolk. He threw 84 pitches, 52 strikes. Brad Bergesen replaced him in the sixth.
Brian Roberts is 2-for-4.