NEW YORK - Give the Orioles a Thursday game and they’re liable to win it.
Adam Jones hit his third home run - and his second on a Thursday, including his opening day walk-off - and the Orioles defeated the Yankees 5-2 in the Bronx. Jones has accounted for half of the Orioles’ home runs, with all of them coming in the sixth inning or later, including tonight’s two-run shot in the seventh that erased a 1-0 deficit against Masahiro Tanaka.
Tonight marked Jones’ first homer with a runner on base since Aug. 31, 2017 against the Blue Jays.
“Adam’s off to a good start,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I said coming into the year, I tried to do it last year, but the personnel didn’t let us, was try to back off him some and some of these day games maybe DH and maybe an off day here and there. He’s off to a good start.”
“Baseball is flipping a coin,” Jones said. “I don’t really know. I’m just trying to do my thing, I guess. I don’t have that answer. I wish I did, but I don’t. That’ll make me start thinking, and I’m not trying to think.”
Tanaka retired 10 in a row before Jonathan Schoop’s leadoff single in the seventh that preceded Jones’ homer.
“A lot of off-speed,” Jones said. “You’ve seen the numbers. He threw maybe 90-something percent off-speed. A lot of sliders and a lot of splitters. They’re good.
“He knows how to command, he knows how to throw for a strike and he knows how to bury it. You tip your cap to him. He knows what he’s doing with the slider and the split.”
Andrew Cashner’s first appearance at Yankee Stadium produced his first win as an Oriole. His only hiccup was the solo home run by Aaron Judge in the sixth that broke a scoreless tie. He held the Yankees to two hits in six innings and is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four career starts against them over 26 innings.
“Threw strike one,” Jones said. “What he did was awesome. He used the defense and kept us in the game. I know he gave up a solo to the big guy Judge, but a solo home run. Kept us in the game. It wasn’t a three-run homer. He just attacked them and used the defense.
“I tip my cap to him. He went out there and battled his tail off and kept us in the game so that we had a shot to bite at them.”
“Cash was solid,” Showalter said. “That was impressive. That’s good to see. You know you’re going to need it. Tanaka, we kind of know what these guys are going to try to do to you and they still do it. That’s why he’s a good pitcher.”
Cashner allowed three home runs over five innings in his debut and was charged with five runs (four earned).
“I felt good in my first start, too,” he said. “A couple of those balls I didn’t think were home runs, but I think for the most part I was trying to drive through the catcher tonight more than anything. But I think the biggest thing is, I had a lot better slider tonight than I did the first night.”
Catcher Chance Sisco kept calling for it and Cashner kept having success with it.
“I think just getting out front with it and trusting it more than anything and just throwing the piss out of it,” Cashner said.
“I don’t know how much was shook or not,” Showalter said. “I don’t really care. But you’re not going to come into major league ballparks and just pump fastballs down there 92-94, whatever he’s featuring. You’re going to have to be able to do some things behind the count.
“We were looking at Tanaka’s last outing. He threw 17 fastballs out of 77. That’s kind of the world you live in. There are no fastball counts anymore.”
“I think more than anything is just guys sticking with the process and just trusting,” he said. “It’s been a tough go for us to start, but I think with Adam hitting that homer ... He had a big homer on opening day and I think it kind of let some guys breathe a little bit. We ended up scratching a few, and another two-out hit by Trey was huge.”
The conditions were nasty, with a game time temperature of 43 degrees that didn’t hold.
“I think the biggest thing is just feeling the baseball,” Cashner said. “I think that’s where you just kind of run into trouble is just feeling the ball.”
Mancini collected three hits atop the order, though he only led off in one frame. Look for him in the same spot on Friday.
“It’s hard,” Showalter said. “I would prefer to have him hit somewhere else, but the batting order is what it is. I had a good talk with him today. I think he tried to bring something a few times when we used him this spring. I just want him to have his at-bats and to heck with where you are in the batting order. You may only leadoff once a game.
“He’s not a guy that’s going to clog the bases. I want to present a real challenge for the other pitcher to have to grind that first inning and Trey can help us do that.”
Here’s more from the clubhouse:
Showalter on Sisco: “John (Russell) is always talking to these young guys about how important it is that you catch. I thought he caught really well tonight. Not just the throw, but that pop up’s tough to catch and he never panicked. In this ballpark, there’s 350 foot fly balls to right center are home runs.”
Jones on what the early stretch of losses has been like: “Seven games into the season. It’s fine.”
Jones on seventh inning uprising: “It’s huge, because then it started back over after I hit the home run. The bases got empty and we put up three more runs. Santander with a massive hit, and Trey to top it off.
“When we all are swinging the bats good, we just pass the baton to the next guy. When you’ve got a guy in front of you who hits the ball hard, it’s incentive in itself to try and do the same thing.”
Jones on Mancini as leadoff hitter: “Get a pitch to hit and hit it. I mean, there’s no, the old school leadoff hitters, I think (Brett) Gardner is one of the last real old school-type leadoff hitters in the game. Our lineup, we don’t have a traditional leadoff hitter. So Trey, you like that first pitch? Let it eat.”