During a day that produced some big hits, big plays and big outs recorded by pitchers in key spots, there were some hustle plays that paid off big for the Orioles, too.
After a stirring 3-2 win over Toronto, Adam Jones cited one of those plays. In the fourth inning, Delmon Young singled and scampered from first to third with one out on Ryan Flaherty’s bloop single. Young then scored on a Nick Hundley sac fly.
Jones also was involved in a hustle play when he was running hard up the line on a grounder to third base in the fifth, forcing Brett Lawrie to throw the ball away for an error. Jones then scored ahead of Chris Davis’ two-run homer.
“With Delmon, that was one of the plays of the season so far, in terms of baserunning,” Jones said. “We haven’t exactly been the best on the bases of late. It was good to see. The effort for us is always going to be there.
“You have to play the game right. There are times you may be frustrated when you don’t hit the ball hard. But one thing you can always do is give an effort and run down the line hard.”
Davis’ homer gave the O’s a 3-1 lead in the fifth.
“Big home run for the team, the situation and for the individual,” Jones said. “He’s been grinding it out. You are not going to always get the results you want, but you continue to put yourself in good positions. He got a pitch up and drove it.
“The summer is starting to heat up and these games start to get real important, especially going into the All-Star break. We need to kick it in gear and continue to play our style of baseball. It’s going to be a battle. Hope we are having these same conversations in the middle of September.”
Davis connected on a 1-0 pitch from R.A. Dickey in the fifth for his 11th homer.
“My approach on him is to look for the ball up out over the plate. Just up in the zone and was able to put a good swing on it,” Davis said.
“There is no change in my approach or work. Been trying to do everything I can to try and get back to feeling good in the box. Felt like the last couple of days it’s started to click a little bit.
“The big play of the game was obviously the relay throw. It was a big hit for (Edwin) Encarnacion and chance for them to get momentum in their dugout. We were able to cut him down and that was just a great play.”
Bud Norris is now 2-0 with an ERA of 0.61 over his last two starts, pitching the Orioles to wins over Boston and Toronto.
Today he went 6 2/3 innings and gave up seven hits and one run to improve to 6-5 with an ERA of 3.73.
Norris avoided a potential big inning in the second when he gave up two leadoff singles, hit a batter and walked another with the bases loaded. But he left them loaded as Toronto scored just one and missed a big early chance.
“Not trying to walk anyone there,” Norris said. “Was in a situation and you’ve got to get out of it. Left it at one run, which was big.
“Big win for us. I was a little shaky early but finally found my stride. (Dave) Wallace calmed me down, Hundley calmed me down. Started getting in a groove from there and the bullpen picked me up.”
O’s pitchers have now given up just nine runs over the last six games. The starters have pitched to an ERA of 1.13 in that stretch, recording a season-high six consecutive quality starts.
“I’m proud of everyone,” Norris said. “This is a staff, from the bullpen to the starters, we’re all out there to help each other. I’m going to pass the rock off to Tilly (Chris Tillman) tomorrow and he’ll go out and do his thing. We’re kind of cruising right now.”