Jones Powers The Orioles to Victory; They Do the Amazing Again…

Well, it’s safe to assume that we are seeing the best of Adam Jones these days.

At this point, do the Orioles consider extending him now? Will it get to the point where fans are asking to “pay the man?”

I think Jones has now taken his game to another level. Last night showed it.

Anyhow, last night, Adam Jones’ solo shot in the 15th inning broke a 3-3 tie and sent the Baltimore to victory Thursday morning. He had struggled for much of night, and didn’t have a hit until that point.

He now has 12 homers on the season, and the decision to make him the cleanup and focal point of the offense is paying off big time for Baltimore.

Once again, the Orioles – when they looked down and out – clawed back into a game late and won. Ok, so it took a while. Honestly, I went to bed long before the game finished and woke up early this morning surprised at the result. Pleasantly so.

Now, it’s gotten to the point where we assume the Orioles can storm back and win instead of fold.

They came back after struggling most of the night against Royals starter Felipe Paulino, who just dominated the Orioles for seven innings; however, they started chipping their way back into the game as Nick Markakis plated in a run in the eighth, and the Orioles got two more runs in the ninth off a Wilson Betemit homer – his eighth – and J.J. Hardy’s RBI-single.

Kevin Gregg – who pitched two innings of relief – got his first win of the season and Jim Johnson earned his 13th save of the season.

If anything, the bullpen also served as heroes of the game too. Troy Patton gave up a crucial run in the eighth inning when the Orioles still trailed; however, the rest of the corps – Darren O’Day, Dana Eveland, Gregg and Johnson – kept the Royals off the board.

Tommy Hunter, who started on the mound for Baltimore, had one of his best outings of the season, but didn’t factor in the decision. He went seven innings, and didn’t give up anything until the fifth inning as Humberto Quintero plated in two runs.

The Orioles are now 24-14 and share first place in the American League East with the Tampa Bay Rays. Last season, if the Orioles split a series with the Royals, I’d be satisfied; however, now, they should sweep this brief two-game set. I’d be surprised if they didn’t.

Brian Matusz starts for the Orioles, and let’s hope he build on his good outing from last week.

He squares off against Luke Hochevar – who has been a bust as a starting pitcher for the Royals – this afternoon. The Orioles have a huge series with the Nationals this weekend in Washington.

Who would have thought that those two teams would be playing some meaningful baseball right now and be atop their respective divisions?

The Nationals are like the walking wounded with a good portion of their roster hurt; however, they have incredible pitching and they are 23-14 so far.

It gets tough – again – for the Birds on Friday into next week. Seriously, not that the Royals are pushovers, but…

Then they have to face the Red Sox next week at home, and then the Royals – again.