Adam Jones homers in 11th as Orioles again win in extra innings

Just when you thought this might go 18 innings again, Adam Jones hits a game-winning homer.

With one out in the top of the 11th, Nate McLouth singled off Seattle’s Josh Kinney. Jones followed with a two-run shot to left and the Orioles had a 3-1, 11-inning victory over the Mariners to sweep this series.

This is the Orioles’ first three-game sweep in Seattle since May 16-18, 1997, the last year they made the playoffs.

For Jones, it was his 30th homer and 19 of them have either tied the game or given the O’s the lead. The Orioles are 22-8 when he homers.

In the last of the 10th, Luis Ayala got out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam to keep the game tied and set the stage for Jones’ heroics.

Jim Johnson pitched out of trouble in the 11th with the game ending when Taylor Teagarden threw out Michael Saunders trying to steal second. For Johnson, it was his 45th save and that ties Randy Myers’ single-season record set in 1997.

The Orioles are now 15-2 in extra-inning games with 15 consecutive wins, and they are 51-21 in games decided by two runs or less.

The Orioles improved to 85-64 overall and moved within a half-game of first-place New York after the Yankees swept a day/night doubleheader from Toronto today. The win moved the Orioles a half-game ahead of Oakland and into the first wild card spot in the American League.

The game was a pitchers’ duel for 10 innings and each starter pitched very well.

After a rough three-start stretch where he gave up 16 earned runs and 30 hits over 16 innings, Felix Hernandez returned to his usual form and the Orioles got just one run and six hits off him over eight innings. He walked one, fanned eight and threw 103 pitches.

But O’s starter Joe Saunders matched Hernandez pitch for pitch and gave up just one run and five hits over eight innings. In nine career starts at Safeco Field, Saunders is 6-0 with an ERA of 2.13.

Since giving up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings in his O’s debut, Saunders has pitched to an ERA of 2.10 in his last four starts.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Chris Davis scored from first on a two-out, RBI single to left-center by Mark Reynolds. But a Franklin Gutierrez solo homer off Saunders tied the game in the last of the fourth.

In the end, the O’s picked up another huge win and now, after Thursday’s off-day, this road trip continues Friday night in Boston.

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