During the All Star Game the FOX broadcast booth didn't have much to say about the Baltimore Orioles. They commented on Nelson Cruz's PED past, they briefly talked about the AL East standings, and when Adam Jones came up to bat for the second time, they commented on how Jones has become the leader of the Orioles' clubhouse.
Jones has taken the opportunity, on this west coast trip, to continue to showcase his leadership. On Saturday he lead the O's to a win with five runs batted in and today he led them to another victory with 4 RBI's. While most other Oriole hitters looked lost against Angel starter Matt Shoemaker, Jones launched a couple of two run blasts to provide all of the Orioles offense. On the mound, Bud Norris delivered a gutsy performance working out of trouble and getting big outs against some of the Angels best hitters.
The Birds started their scoring in the first inning, when it seemed like they might have a big day at the plate. Nick Markakis led off with a single and with one on and one down, Jones took a pitch right down Broadway and stuck it in the Angels' bullpen. Shoemaker would leave the first inning throwing over 20 pitches.
Norris dealt with trouble early on in this game. With one on and nobody out, Mike Trout hit a slow grounder to JJ Hardy at short. Hardy dished a sidearm throw to Jonathon Schoop at second base. The only problem, Schoop couldn't see the ball. A column of light streaming through the stadium was right in his vision and he missed the ball completely, allowing it to dribble into right field. Hardy was charged with an error. Norris would come back and strike out Albert Pujols. After a run scoring single to Josh Hamilton, Norris got out of the inning.
Norris wandered into trouble again in the 4th inning when he allowed the first two runners on. With one out, he allowed an RBI single to Hank Conger. It wasn't looking good for Bud, he walked his first batter and just gave up an RBI to the number eight hitter. He came back against John McDonald, striking him out looking. Then with the lineup turned over, leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun grounded a little roller to short where JJ Hardy had no play. That brought up Mike Trout with the bases loaded and two down. Bud didn't back down though, throwing a 2-2 fastball right into the low and away corner of the zone for a called strike three.
Fast forward to the 6th inning. Shoemaker had retired 15 Orioles in a row. With Markakis up, Shoemaker left a pitch up in the zone with Nick drove into the right-center gap for a double. Jones stepped up to the plate once again with one out and this time drove the ball 443 feet to left center. Maybe the Home Run Derby actually helped Jonesy! That would put a bow on the scoring for the Birds, who looked pretty pitiful at the plate outside of Markakis and Jones.
In the 7th, Norris got the first two out, but walked Albert Pujols on four straight. Brian Matusz was called in and completely dominated Josh Hamilton, striking him out on three pitches. Darren O'Day followed it up with a perfect bottom of the 8th.
Zach Britton came in on the 9th and against Erick Aybar with nobody out he took a hard groundball off the right arm. Despite taking he shot he hustled after the ball and got the first out of the 9th. He finished the inning off with a three pitch strikeout of Kole Calhoun. Britton threw seven pitches for seven strikes in an easy final inning leading the O's to a win in the first of three against the Angels.
Bud Norris would finish tonight's game with 8 strikeouts in 6 and 2/3 innings. Despite allowing 10 baserunners tonight, he only let two of them score.
With both the Blue Jays and Yankees losing, the Orioles return to 4 games up in the East, wiping away the game they lost over the weekend series in Oakland. They are back at it again tomorrow night at 10 pm ET when they will try to get to 3-2 on the roadtrip.
Between the four runs batted in and the postgame interview, tonight made you say "Thank goodness Adam Jones is an Oriole!"