Adam Jones entered Saturday’s game with just three hits in his last 24 at-bats and with just one RBI over his last eight games.
He was also in a season-long, 14-at-bat hitless stretch that reached 18 at-bats when he finally got a base hit with a single in the last of the ninth. Three innings later, Jones did better than that.
He hit the second walk-off homer of his career, a two-run shot, to give the Orioles a 6-4, 12-inning win over the Phillies. Jones also hit a walk-off shot on May 24, 2011 against Kansas City.
Jones continues to come up with clutch hits for the Orioles. From the ninth inning on this year, he is batting .406 at 13-for-32 with five homers and nine RBIs. This season, he became the first player since Mark McGwire in 1988 to homer in the 15th inning or later twice in the same season.
Yesterday’s game didn’t get that far and Jones was the reason why.
He didn’t get the win on Saturday at Camden Yards and he did give up three home runs, but those were the only runs Tommy Hunter gave up over seven innings. He put his team in position to win and got them deep into the game after the starters had combined for just six innings in the previous two games.
Hunter was returning from the minors, where he had given up just one run over seven innings in a start last weekend for Triple-A Norfolk. Before being sent out, his ERA was 7.31 over his previous three Orioles starts, so he felt like his outing Saturday was a nice improvement.
“Oh, yeah. Couple of double plays, some ground balls. That’s what you want to do. Seven innings and three or fewer runs. A quality start. I’ll stick with that,” he said.
It was Hunter’s fifth quality start for the Orioles in 11 outings this year and he picked up his first win since April 24. He said he would have liked to have back each of the home run pitches, but at least they were three solo shots.
“That’s right, man. I’ve given up a few. Didn’t walk anybody and that definitely helps out. They were pretty bad pitches. Jim Thome has 90 million home runs in his career, he’s a strong guy and I left that ball up. Hector Luna, inner third maybe. No, they weren’t very good pitches and they didn’t miss them,” Hunter said.
Hunter had two double plays turned behind him and retired the last six batters he faced, even if the last one, Brian Schneider, drove a ball to the wall in center to end the top of the seventh.
He didn’t get the win, but the Orioles did improve to 7-4 when Hunter has been the starting pitcher this year.