Orioles center fielder Adam Jones admitted before Saturday's Game 2 of the American League Championship Series that he might need to be a little more patient at the plate for his team to get back into the series against the Kansas City Royals.
Jones doesn't make any apologies for his aggressiveness at the plate, but he noted that the playoffs offer a different game, inherently smaller strike zones and more opportunity for batters to wait on their pitch to hit.
And Jones has struggled in the postseason, entering the day just 5-for-42 with 11 strikeouts in 10 career playoff games.
“I just think that, [with] what I do in the regular season, I think I need to cut back a little bit more in the postseason, the aggression in the regular season,” Jones said before Game 2. “I think it intensifies when the postseason comes on, the strike zone is smaller. Every pitch is that more of importance. And you've got to lock in better. It's the same game, it's just the focus has to be stronger.”
But in his second at-bat Saturday, Jones waited out Royals starter Yordano Ventura, sitting on a 2-0 fastball down the middle and hitting it into the left-field stands for a game-tying, two-run home run in the third inning.
It was not only Jones' first career postseason homer, but also his first extra-base hit. And it came at the perfect time, after the Royals took a 3-1 lead. Jones, who was just 2-for-26 in the 2012 postseason, is now 5-for-21 in five postseason games this year.
Jones' first postseason homer — which came in his 11th game and 44th career playoff at-bat — marked the end of the second-longest streak in club history without a postseason extra-base hit. Andy Etchebarren needed 18 postseason games before his first.
Jones also showed his patience in the fifth inning, taking a 1-1 pitch the other way for a one-out single. But in his next at-bat — when he came to the plate with two on and no outs with the Orioles poised for a big inning — he struck out on three pitches after swinging through three fastballs.
“We're putting ourselves in opportunities and good situations and there's nothing wrong with that,” Jones said after the game. “We have to just continue plugging away. That's just our team style. We live and die with it.”