By Eduardo A. Encina, The Baltimore Sun
10:12 PM EDT, May 6, 2012
J.J. Hardy has done plenty to help the Orioles this season with his glove, but it wasn't until Sunday when he felt his bat was catching up.
In the Orioles' 17-inning 9-6 win over the Red Sox, Hardy had a career-high five hits, including two solo homers and a double, with two RBIs and three runs. Following a 5-for-8 day, Hardy lifted his average 30 points. Now hitting .217, it was the first time he's had a batting average above .200 since April 17.
"Maybe today was the first day I felt OK," Hardy said. "If I'd been hitting the ball hard before, I didn't feel good, but today was one of the first days I actually felt good."
Hardy hit solo homers off Boston starter Clay Buchholz in the first and third innings, his eighth career multi-homer game and his first since Aug. 12, 2011 against the Detroit Tigers. His first-inning homer was his 10th of his 36 with the Orioles to come in the first inning.
Hardy also doubled in the decisive 17th inning before Adam Jones' game-winning three-run homer.
He also had his hand in the biggest defensive play of the game in the bottom of the 16th, when he made a pinpoint relay throw on Mike Aviles' double in the left center-field gap, taking a throw from Jones and relaying that to catcher Matt Wieters to beat Marlon Byrd to the plate, stopping what would have been the game-winning run.
"What a game J.J. had," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Good gosh, he played shortstop the way you want to see it played."
Reimold to go on rehab assignment
Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold will go on a minor league rehab before rejoining the team from the disabled list, Showalter said Sunday.
Reimold, who has a herniated disk in his neck, hasn't played since Monday, and Showalter said he'd like Reimold to get some at-bats before returning.
"I expect him to without a doubt," Showalter said. "I'm hoping that somewhere near the end of the DL period, which would be the 14th, something around there, he gets some at-bats. It's been a while."
The 28-year-old outfielder is off to the best start of his career, putting up a .313/.333/.627 line with five homers and 10 RBIs.
Reimold twice returned from neck issues before he was sent back to Baltimore earlier this week to see team doctors after he complained of tingling in his fingers, which has diminished but hasn't gone away yet.
Reimold is eligible to come off the DL on May 16. Showalter said he'd have to check out the schedules for the team's minor league affiliates for that time. Double-A Bowie plays at home May 15-17, Class-A Frederick is home May 11-13, Class-A Delmarva is home May 10-16, while Triple-A Norfolk hosts games May 15-22.
Flaherty gets start in left
Rookie utility man Ryan Flaherty, a Maine native who grew up just 1 1/2-drive from Fenway Park, drew the start in left field Sunday.
Flaherty, who grew up a Red Sox fan, spent the pregame practicing taking fly balls of the famed Green Monster.
"You grow up in the area watching the games in this ballpark and all of a sudden you go out there and the anthem's playing," Showalter said. "At some point, I'm sure he'll sit out there in left field and go, 'Really, you kidding me?' But guys like him, they get over that quickly and get on with the competition. I'm living through his eyes. I'll take it in. I'll glance over there a couple times today. That's pretty cool."
Flaherty went 1-for-5 in the game and made a leaping catch of Dustin Pedroia's liner near the wall in the fifth.
Around the horn
Jones, who was 3-for-8 Sunday, has hit safely in 24 of 28 games this season. His first-inning double extended his hitting streak to 14 games. … In his past five games at Fenway Park, Mark Reynolds is 10-for-20 with four homers, five walks, 11 RBIs and seven runs, dating back to last season.
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