Adam Jones reached first base, raised his fist in the air and bounced around the bases, skipping sideways across the plate and slapping a layer of skin off the hands of his teammates as he approached the dugout. He shouted toward the field while tugging at his batting gloves. The needle on his emotion meter was bouncing in the red.
I don’t recall seeing Jones quite so fired up, though manager Buck Showalter said it’s happened in the past.
Jones’ three-run homer broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning in a game won by the Orioles 5-3 before 37,587 at Camden Yards.
The Yankees fell eight games back in the American League East. The Blue Jays are seven behind as they play in Seattle.
In the last three nationally televised games, the Orioles are 3-0 and have outscored their opponents 27-8. They were down 2-1 tonight before Jonathan Schoop homered in the eighth off Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, who was uncharacteristically working his third inning.
Nick Markakis singled, Chris Davis walked and Jones sent the crowd into a frenzy.
“I’ve seen him fired up for other reasons, some the other side of being happy,” Showalter said.
“Adam’s an open book. You guys know that. He gets a lot of cache because of the way he plays. Real happy for him. I’ve seen him that emotional before on both sides of the spectrum.”
Said Jones: “Big spot, big home run, ESPN game, everybody watching. I play the game with emotion and big home run, big spot. Nothing wrong with showing a little emotion here and there.”
Four of Schoop’s 11 home runs have come against the Yankees.
“I’m OK with that,” Showalter said. “I don’t know if it’s the team. I think Jon had an idea there about a breaking ball and didn’t miss it. Same way with Adam. Think they were both breaking balls. The good thing about getting a steady dose of them through the course of your season is sometimes you look for it and if it’s a strike you’ve got a chance.
“Jon’s been in a good place the last two or three games. I think it wouldn’t have mattered who he was playing.
“You’ve got Manny (Machado) out and J.J. (Hardy) out and (Matt) Wieters out and guys kind of know that there’s a little slack to be picked up there, and they take it personal.”
A late ambush is sort of how the Yankees have made a living over the years.
“I’m not going to get into their mode of operation. That’s their business,” Showalter said.
“This club is a lot like the city. It’s a very proud club. Everybody here’s had their nose bloodied and you’ve got a choice to make. Tonight, the way they were pitching, we knew it was going to be a challenge. But the key was keeping it close where there was just a small margin for error.”
Chris Tillman allowed two runs, on Francisco Cervelli’s home run, over seven innings.
“Really good,” Showalter said. “It’s not up to me, but I thought his outing was one of the keys to the game. He stayed engaged and you could tell their starter (Michael Pineda) was in good form. Betances with the four days off, we knew he was going to pitch for a while. And they’ve got an off-day tomorrow. You don’t like your chances there, but big at-bats by Nicky and Chris Davis to set it up. Of course, Jonathan had another big blow for us.
“One of the things Nick does so well is he doesn’t let one at-bat snowball a whole night or two at-bats. He may be 0-for-3 and his timing might be off and all of a sudden there it is, he figures out a way to get something done. A lot of that is lack of ego. He doesn’t care about looking aesthetically pleasing. He just wants to get a ball where they can’t get it, get on base and pass the baton.”
The Orioles are 8-3 vs. the Yankees this season. They’re now 69-50 overall, 34-26 at home and 30-19 against the division.
“We knew we were going to have to play well on the road, we knew we were going to have try to be competitive in the division. So far so good,” Showalter said.
“It’s tough. We talked about getting better at home, which is something we’ve been able to get better at.
“It was good to have everybody, most importantly the fans, feel good about some things that we have a chance to do if we can keep grinding it.”