Hardy hits his 19th homer (O’s lead 3-0)

J.J. Hardy has hit more home runs than any shortstop in the American League this season, and he increased the margin this afternoon with his 19th to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Hardy drove an 89 mph fastball from Eric Stults - the Padres left-hander, not the actor who played Rocky Dennis in “Mask” - over the fence in left field. Wasn’t much doubt about it. Sort of like Adam Jones’ shot last night.

Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki leads all shortstops with 20 home runs. The next-closest AL shortstop is Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta with 11, and he’s got bigger worries right now than catching Hardy.

He already got caught, if you know what I mean.

The Padres have mastered the art of putting runners on base. Driving them home is another matter entirely.

They stranded two in the first inning, including Will Venable, who led off with a single, stole second and took third on a passed ball with one out. Miguel Gonzalez issued a four-pitch walk to Yonder Alonso with two outs before recording the final out on his 23rd pitch.

Alexi Amarista led off the second with a cheap double, the ball falling between left fielder Steve Pearce and third baseman Manny Machado, but Gonzalez again wiggled off the hook.

Gonzalez struck out the side in the third inning, giving him five. His season high is nine on June 27 vs. the Indians.

Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 3.41 ERA in six day games this season. In his nine career day games, including eight starts, he’s 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 54 innings.

Gonzalez hadn’t pitched in an interleague game until today. He didn’t have a plate appearance in the majors until today. He should be amped up.

Gonzalez actually ran the count full against Stults, fouling off a few pitches before lining to right field on the seventh offering. Not bad at all.

Update: The Orioles increased their lead to 2-0 in the fourth with an unearned run off Stults.

Manny Machado reached on an error - first base umpire Angel Hernandez may have done the unthinkable and blew the call - and scored when Adam Jones singled into center field and Amarista threw the ball into the Orioles’ dugout as Machado hustled into third.

Jones is 9-for-17 with two homers in five games at Petco Park. He’s 10-for-21 with five RBIs in his last six games.

Update II: The Orioles scored again in the fifth to lead 3-0, but they left the bases loaded and failed again to delivery the knockout punch to Stults.

Machado lined an RBI single into left field, making him 8-for-23 over last six games.

Gonzalez reached on another Padres error while trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt. He’s not used to running the bases and made it to second. Let’s see how he responds.

Steve Pearce led off with a double and took third on Brian Roberts’ single. Roberts asked for the ball. It’s his first hit since baby Jax was born.

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