ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Adam Jones homered in the top of the fourth inning today and Ben Zobrist homered in the bottom half.
Jones has 12 homers this season. Zobrist has a man-crush on the Orioles and keeps showing off for them.
Jones leads all American League outfielders in voting for the All-Star Game with 1,944,450, passing last week’s leader, the Angels’ Mike Trout, who’s now second with 1,939,486. The Tigers’ Torii Hunter is third with 1,067,973 votes.
“I heard yesterday through Twitter or something,” Jones said. “I think it’s cool that not just myself, but a few other Orioles are starting to get more recognition. We play good baseball. We play hard baseball and it’s cool, too, that more than one guy on this team is getting recognition.
“We’ve been winning. When you play good baseball, you play winning baseball, there has to be more than one player represented. If you’re a last-place team, you’re probably only getting one person chosen, which I guess was the case from ‘05 to ‘09, ‘10. It’s just humbling. We go out and play. We don’t care about the accolades. We just want to go out there and win. But to be recognized amongst your peers, especially in a media driven market nowadays, it’s pretty cool.
“It’s good because it shows that my fan base is not just with the Orioles, it’s with Major League Baseball. I think it’s the exposure we’ve been getting with playing in the playoffs last year, the stretch run last year, a lot of expectations this year. I think a lot of people have turned their TVs on to us and paid more attention to how we play the game. We’re becoming a little more relevant in baseball and it’s cool to be recognized, but more as a team than individuals.
“It shows what our fan base is doing. Our fan base is going out there and voting their tails off right now. It’s cool because guys like J.J. (Hardy), he’s a guy who won’t say nothing. That’s just his personality, but he goes out there every day and brings it. I know right now he’s played more games at shortstop because no one has played all of them expect him. Right now, he’s very deserving because he goes out there and plays every day no matter what. That’s just how this team makeup is. Just go out there and play.”
Nick Markakis ranks fourth among outfielders. He’s never been an All-Star.
“There have been four or five times that he easily should have been an All-Star,” Jones said. “We’ve got Birdland out there voting a lot more. We’re got more eyes on us, so this could be the year he goes. That would be amazing for him to be there and me be there at the same time, because being around him, I’ve always admired the way he plays the game. For him to be rewarded with an All-Star game would be amazing. I know him and his family would love it, especially because it’s in New York and he’s right around the corner.”
Manny Machado ranks a distant second to the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera at third base, but it’s impressive that a 20-year-old who hasn’t played a full season in the majors is getting this much love among fans.
“There’s a lot of things that guy is doing that is amazing to me on a daily basis and this is another one,” Jones said. “He just brings it every day. That’s the makeup of this team now. We have some guys who just want to play, and he fits right in to the mold of this team. I know he’s the youngest here, but he sure doesn’t act like it the way he plays and the way he carries himself in the clubhouse. I’m just proud of him as a young man and want to continue to see him grow into the player that he’s going to be. Not the player everyone says he’s going to be, but the player he wants to be.”
The Orioles could have three starters in the All-Star Game for the first time since 1997 - Cal Ripken Jr., Roberto Alomar and Brady Anderson.
“That’s a great feeling as a team,” Jones said. “We can share something like this together. Last year, going with (Matt) Wieters and (Jim) Johnson was awesome. On that line, when we got introduced, it was all three of us instead of just the Baltimore Orioles and there’s one. We took about 35 seconds to get through the Orioles rather than just six. It was cool to be able to share that with them.
“I would love to share that with my teammates as many as get voted in. But we’ve got, what, three or four weeks before the voting ends, so we’ve got a lot of time. We see all the commercials about the campaigning, so we’ve got to do it on the field and the fans will handle it at the polls.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter doesn’t pay much attention to the voting until it gets closer to the deadline.
“I don’t look at that stuff,” he said. “It’s so far away.”
Reminded that Markakis has never been an All-Star, Showalter said, “He’s never been selected. He’s been an All-Star. I’m pulling for him.”
Steve Pearce won’t be an All-Star this year, but he’s 3-for-3 today. He also had three hits on May 4 against the Angels.
Tillman has retired six in a row since the Zobrist home run. He struck out Jose Molina to end the fifth on his 77th pitch of the day.
Matt Moore is done after five innings. He allowed nine runs (eight earned) and 12 hits, with six strikeouts, a wild pitch and a hit batter. Rays manager Joe Maddon finally saw enough after 100 pitches.
Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk’s Jake Arrieta has allowed six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, with one walk, one strikeout and one wild pitch. He’s still on the mound.
Update: Estimated distance on Jones’ home run: 432 feet according to the Rays, 457 according to @ESPNStatsInfo.
Jones also singled in the sixth inning, leaving him a triple shy of the cycle.
Chris Davis is 0-for-11 with six strikeouts in this series. He’s struck out 17 times in his last nine games.
The 12 hits off Moore were a career high.
Tillman retired eight in a row before walking Zobrist with two outs in the sixth. Because it’s a law down here that Zobrist must reach base against the Orioles.
Zobrist moved up on a passed ball and scored on Kelly Johnson’s single to reduce the Orioles’ lead to 9-3.
Arrieta allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, with two walks, two strikeouts and two wild pitches. He threw 99 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Mike Belfiore stranded two inherited runners.
Update II: Markakis delivered the Orioles’ seventh double of the game, tying the club’s season high, to score Alexi Casilla and increase the lead to 10-3 in the seventh inning.
The 10 runs also equal a season high.
Darren O’Day has entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Tillman turned in his eighth quality start of the season, allowing three runs (two earned) and four hits in six innings, with one walk, five strikeouts and one home run. He threw 109 pitches, 71 for strikes.
Update III: Brian Matusz gave up three runs and five hits in two-thirds of an inning to reduce the Orioles’ lead to 10-6 in the eighth. Tommy Hunter stranded two runners by striking out Desmond Jennings.
Sam Fuld hit his first home run since May 27, 2011 vs. the Indians. Luke Scott had an RBI single that prompted Showalter to bring in Hunter.
Hunter will pitch the ninth inning.
Update IV: Hunter allowed two hits in the bottom of the ninth and pinch-hitter Jose Lobaton delivered an RBI single off Jim Johnson before the Orioles’ closer recorded the final out in a 10-6 win over the Rays before 19,921 at Tropicana Field. Johnson picked up his 21st save of the season.
Hunter would have been credited with his second career save because he entered the game in the eighth with the tying run on deck, but Showalter brought in Johnson after Matt Joyce singled with two outs.
Zobrist’s spot in the order came up, but Maddon had removed him from the game. Lobaton singled, but Kelly Johnson popped up to end the Rays’ comeback hopes.
Hunter allowed only his fourth earned run in his last 30 1/3 innings.
The Orioles went 3-3 on the road trip.
The Orioles had eight extra-base hits today. They totaled one over the first two games of this series.
Casilla was thrown out trying to steal to end the top of the ninth. He had been successful on 19 straight attempts over the past two seasons. He was 5-for-5 this year and 21-for-22 in 2012.
The Orioles had been successful on 18 consecutive stolen base attempts.