Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was rewarded for an astute piece of base-running Tuesday night, scoring the winning run after tagging up to second base on a fly ball that almost everyone at Camden Yards believed would be a home run.
He held on first base to take second after a flyout to the fence by third baseman Manny Machado, and that allowed him to score on a two-out single by designated hitter Mark Trumbo, giving the Orioles a 6-5 comeback victory in 10 innings over the Pittsburgh Pirates before an announced 26,724.
"It’s either a home run or he’s going to catch it," manager Buck Showalter said. "You take a little gamble in case it goes off the wall or something with that much hang time. That’s another example of a baseball player play that analytics won’t ever evaluate. It’s separating and evaluating really good players like Adam, so many little things he does. That’s another example of it."
Jones said he took advantage of the fact that left fielder Adam Frazier is an infielder by trade, and said it was "the right situation" to tag from first.
"You've got a deep fly ball that's either a home run or a flyout," Jones said. "He's jumping at the wall, so as soon as I see him catch it, I just run. Jump, come down, then make a good throw to second base, it's not an easy play, even for us outfielders. It was just instinct, trying to play the game and trying to get in scoring position."
Trumbo, who is responsible for three of the Orioles' five walk-off hits this season, said Jones' being on second base instead of first simplified the at-bat for him.
"Huge play, as much as my approach changes if he’s not there," Trumbo said. "It’s a heads-up play, and that’s why he’s really good."
The Orioles forced extra innings in their last hacks at the Pirates when first baseman Chris Davis singled and scored on a two-run home run by second baseman Jonathan Schoop, his second homer of the game.
Davis and Schoop homered in consecutive at-bats in the seventh inning to cut into an early 4-1 deficit the visitors from Pittsburgh built off Orioles starter Kevin Gausman.
Gausman guts one out
A three-run second inning during which the Pirates collected four of their eight hits and required 33 pitches from Gausman was the main blemish in a day that, otherwise, included plenty of efficient innings for the embattled young starter.
He had thrown 50 pitches by the end of that second inning, but used 63 more to get into the seventh inning. He ended the day allowing four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk in 6 2/3 innings, bringing his ERA to 5.86.
Left-hander Donnie Hart relieved him after a two-out single in the seventh and put two runners on before leaving the bases loaded. Mychal Givens struck out three in the eighth, and Darren O’Day allowed a run in the ninth. Closer Brad Brach pitched a clean 10th inning, earning his first victory of the season.
In the first six innings of Tuesday’s game, the only Orioles to do much of anything were those at the top of the order, right fielder Seth Smith and Jones.
In the first inning, Smith homered on Pirates starter Ivan Nova’s third pitch of the game, then Jones dropped down a bunt for a base hit, but was erased on a double play.
Smith reached on an error by Frazier in the third inning, and Jones singled in the sixth inning. In between, the only Orioles player to reach base was Trumbo, who walked in the fourth.
With that all as prologue, things were particularly dire at the seventh-inning stretch. That changed over the course of three pitches, when Davis and Schoop homered in back-to-back at-bats to open the inning and chase Nova, who left with the trainer after the home run by Schoop.
Joseph keeps throwing
After a leadoff single in the sixth inning by John Jaso, Caleb Joseph showed off the arm that has helped him become one of the game’s top defensive backstops by throwing him out on an attempted steal.
Joseph has caught six of 14 attempts at stolen bases against him this season.