Adam Jones Home Run Lifts O’s Over M’s
SEATTLE (AP) — Adam Jones is still finding ways to haunt his former team.
Jones had three hits, including the go-ahead homer into the upper deck in the eighth inning and a highlight-reel catch against the wall in center field, leading the Baltimore Orioles to a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.
“I had a 1-0 pitch to drive and I just was under the ball and I fouled it off. I felt that I was late on it,” Jones said. “I just told myself, ‘Get on top of the ball, stay on top of the ball,’ and he missed down and in and I didn’t.”
Jones turned on a sinker from Jamey Wright (1-2) on the inside corner of the plate and hit a rocket into the second level seating in left field to give Baltimore the lead.
“I threw a sinker that didn’t sink, at all, just flattened out,” Wright said. “Inside, right into his barrel. I couldn’t have put it on a tee any better for him.”
As impressive as the homer was, Jones’ catch in the fourth inning was even better.
Miguel Olivo crushed a line drive to deep center off Orioles starter Brian Matusz. Jones turned and ran at full speed toward the wall and hauled in the shot with an over-the-shoulder grab as he jumped into the padded wall.
“The ball was crushed,” Jones said. “I just ran and ran and just caught the ball. That’s something that’s really hard to replay in my mind right now. I remember doing it but it’s hard to put it into words.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said it was one of the better catches he’s seen all year.
“He put on an all-around show today,” Showalter said. “And he’ll go home ticked off about not throwing a guy out at the plate. He’s having a special year.”
The catch was a big lift for Matusz, who was making his season debut after spending the first two months on the disabled list.
“I thought off the bat that was gone,” Matusz said. “(Jones) made a great ply right there. It was awesome. It was a good momentum thing because it put a smile on my face and it helped me kind of relax a little bit and have fun.”
Matusz lasted 5 2-3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out three.
“As the game went on I was able to kind of feel myself, and get a good feel, to get myself back on track,” Matusz said. “Not trying to think about mechanics at all, just feeling my groove and slow it down a bit and not be so jumpy. That’s why the game went better for me.”
Jim Johnson (4-1) allowed one hit while retiring four batters to pick up the victory, and Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth inning to earn his ninth save of the season.
Matusz retired 10 straight batters in the middle innings with Pineda retiring 11 of 12 before running into some trouble in the seventh.
J.J. Hardy picked up a one-out broken bat single and Pineda walked his only batter of the game, Mark Reynolds, putting a runner in scoring position for the first time all game. Pineda buckled down and struck out Robert Andino with a 96-mph fastball to end the threat.
Hardy gave Baltimore an early lead when he hit a 1-2 slider from Pineda into the Orioles bullpen over the left field wall. It was his second home run off Pineda this season.
“In Baltimore, I threw a fastball up and he homers,” Pineda said. “Today I threw down and he adjusted for my slider and homered.”
Olivo led off the bottom of the second with a single to left and advanced to second on a flyout from Franklin Gutierrez. Jack Wilson came up with a two-out RBI single to center.
Olivo lowered a shoulder into catcher Matt Wieters, who was blocking the plate with his left leg. Wieters whiffed and the ball went to the backstop as Olivo bowled over Wieters. Olivo had to go back to touch the plate as the run tied the game at 1-1.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)