Tie game, two outs, runners on first and second in the bottom of the eighth. Pressure packed situation right? On the first pitch, Adam Jones hit a hanging breaking ball from Shawn Kelley over the left centerfield wall for a three run home run and an eventual 5-3 victory over the AL East rival New York Yankees.
Jones knew it when he hit that the ball was gone and the normally stoic All Star showed some emotion as he delivered an emphatic fist pump when he rounded first base and some hard high fives as he crossed the plate and was mobbed by his teammates in the dugout.
Not to be lost in the heroics of Jones home run, Jonathan Schoop hit a game tying solo home run earlier in the eighth inning, and both Nick Markakis and Chris Davis had great at bats in front of Jones to set the stage for him. Jones' eighth inning blast capped a comeback that the Orioles had been slowly working on since the fifth inning.
Trailing 2-0 and yet to record a hit, the Orioles entered the fifth inning trying to figure out how to get to Yankees starter Michael Pineda, who was perfect through four. Nelson Cruz ended the perfect game bid as he led off with a double, and two batters later Steve Pearce hit a bloop single to put runners on the corners with one out. Ryan Flaherty had a very nice at bat and did what he was supposed to do and delivered a sacrifice fly to pull the Orioles within one.
Although the Orioles only managed six hits, they were still able to generate five runs out of them as Jones led the way with his three run homer, and Schoop and Flaherty each had a RBI as well. Schoop is now hitting .379 with four home runs and 11 RBI in nine games against the Yankees this season.
Chris Tillman continued to show he is regaining his 2012-2013 form as he was phenomenal on Wednesday Night, with the exception of one pitch. That one pitch was a hanging curveball to Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli in the third inning that he crushed for a two run home run, but those were the only two runs he allowed.
Tillman went seven strong innings while allowing two runs on five hits, zero walks and three strikeouts and needed 100 pitches, 63 of which were for strikes. He has been on a roll lately as he is 4-1 with a 2.35 ERA over his last 11 starts and has tossed nine quality starts during that stretch.
Darren O'Day (4-1) picked up the win in relief after tossing a scoreless eighth, and Zach Britton picked up his 25th save of the season despite a shaky ninth that saw him give up a hit, walk and a run.
Baltimore is now 8-3 in 11 games vs the Yankees this season and have won three straight series over New York. Overall the Orioles have now won eight straight series and have gone 15-5 at home since June 30.
Combined with the Toronto Blue Jays loss, the Orioles now lead the Jays by 7 1/2 games in the AL East and lead the Yankees by eight games. The Birds will enjoy an off day today before beginning a three game series in Cleveland against the Indians.
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