The Baltimore Orioles are sending four players to the All Star Game on Tuesday, including three starters in Chris Davis, Adam Jones and JJ Hardy. Last night all three hit home runs to lead the Baltimore Orioles to an 8-5 victory over their division rival Toronto Blue Jays.
All eight of the Orioles runs came via the three home runs by their three All Star starters. Davis got things started with a two run dinger in the bottom of the second inning on a 1-2 count to the opposite field to tie the game at two after Toronto hit a two run homer in the top of the inning. The homer was Davis's MLB leading 35th of the season and is now tied for the fourth most home runs before the All Star break in baseball history.
The Blue Jays would take the lead right back in the top of the third courtesy of a solo homer, but Jones served up the first Earl Weaver special of the game with a three run bomb in the bottom of the third to give the Birds a 5-3 lead.
With the score still 5-3 entering the bottom of the sixth, it was time for another Earl Weaver special and this one came via the bat of Hardy who smoked a three run shot to left to knock in his fellow All Star starters in Jones and Davis to give Baltimore an 8-3 lead.
"Earl would have been proud tonight," said manager Buck Showalter.
Jones led the way offensively going 3-4 with a homer, double, three RBI and three runs scored, while Davis had the only other multi-hit game for the Birds going 2-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored.
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman (11-3) did what he has done for most of the season, bend but not break. Tillman has become the model for battling on the mound as he found himself in several jams throughout the evening, but still managed to turn in a quality start and not let the big inning happen. Once he was done for the night, he had thrown six innings, while allowing three runs on eight hits, one walk and five strikeouts. 68 of the 108 pitches he threw were for strikes.
"Tilly bent, but he didn't break," Showalter said. "We had a bunch of 2-0 counts. I think we had 10 2-0 counts, so we were fortunate not to have that bite us. I thought he was carrying a pretty good fastball after about the second inning and you could tell he got a little physical with the game and really finished it up pretty strong there."
Jairo Asencio made his Orioles debut in relief of Tillman and tossed a scoreless inning. The closer of the AAA Norfolk Tides, allowed one hit and one walk, but struck out two to escape the self imposed jam.
Jim Johnson picked up his MLB leading 32nd save of the season by throwing just one pitch in the game. He came on with two outs in the ninth after Tommy Hunter allowed two runs to trim the Orioles lead down to 8-5.
The Orioles will look to take the series tonight as they send Jason Hammel (7-5) to the mound for the start against Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond (1-1). With the win, the O's move to within one game of the second wild card spot courtesy of a Tampa Bay Rays loss last night. Baltimore remains 5 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox for the AL East lead.
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