BALTIMORE (AP) — Adam Jones knew exactly how to handle the trip around the bases after the first walkoff homer of his big league career.
Jones capped a ninth-inning uprising with a two-run drive against Joakim Soria, giving the Baltimore Orioles a 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
“First time I ever got one like that,” Jones said.
He hit an 0-2 pitch far over the center-field wall to cap a three-run rally. Just before Jones reached the plate at the end of a joyous trip around the bases, he flipped away his batting helmet in preparation for the inevitable pounding by his teammates.
Upon arriving at home, he was careful to step gingerly on the plate, knowing full well that Kendry Morales of the Los Angeles Angels broke his leg last year after hitting a walkoff grand slam.
“I just wanted to make sure I came down properly,” Jones said. “It’s not funny, but it is funny.”
Then came the mugging by his teammates, who celebrated a third straight victory and Baltimore’s first this season when trailing after eight innings (1-21).
“It felt good getting punched in the stomach and ribs,” Jones said.
Baltimore trailed 3-2 entering the ninth. After Soria (3-1) retired the first batter, J.J. Hardy doubled off the glove of third baseman Wilson Betemit. Pinch-hitter Felix Pie then grounded a double inside third base to tie it.
Soria rebounded to strike out Robert Andino before Jones hit his first homer in nearly a month.
“That was up and he hit it good,” Soria said of his ill-fated fastball.
Alfredo Simon (1-0) worked a perfect ninth in his season debut. He missed the start of the year after being charged with involuntary manslaughter in his native Dominican Republic; no trial date has been set.
It was the eighth loss in 10 games for Kansas City, now 14-2 when leading after eight innings.
Royals manager Ned Yost said of Soria: “It’s been a bit of a struggle for him right now. … It’s just location more than anything else. He’s normally a guy whose location is pinpoint, but it’s been off a little bit.”
Royals rookie Danny Duffy gave up two runs and five hits over 5 1-3 innings in his second big-league start. The 22-year-old took a three-hit shutout into the sixth before running into trouble trying to protect a 3-0 lead.
Duffy was poised to collect his first win in the majors before Baltimore’s ninth-inning rally.
Orioles starter Zach Britton allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings, but the rookie was again victimized by a lack of offensive support. The Orioles had gone three straight games without scoring while Britton was in the game before getting two runs in the sixth.
Britton has a 2.35 ERA overall and has allowed a total of six earned runs over his past four starts, but he’s 0-1 in that span.
Britton’s streak of 19 straight innings without allowing an earned run ended when three of the first four Kansas City batters singled, including an RBI liner to left by Jeff Francoeur.
Alex Gordon made it 2-0 in the third with his fifth home run, the first yielded by Britton in three starts since May 6.
The Royals added a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Billy Butler. In the bottom half, Nick Markakis singled and stole second before Matt Wieters chased Duffy with an RBI double and Louis Coleman gave up a run-scoring single to pinch-hitter Luke Scott.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)