Adam Jones broke out of his funk with a game-winning home run to help the Baltimore Orioles even their three-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies. He'll have a chance to lead his club to a series victory this afternoon in the finale at Camden Yards.
Jones ended an 0-for-18 slump with a single in the ninth inning and later ended the game with a two-run home run off Phillies reliever B.J. Rosenberg in the bottom of the 12th.
"[Baltimore manager Buck Showalter] hits me fourth for a reason," Jones said. "Glad I was able to come through for my team."
Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Ryan Flaherty knocked in a run apiece for the Orioles, who dropped the opener on Friday by a 9-6 score before pulling out their fourth win in seven tries a day later. Jones' 17th home run of the season made a winner of Luis Ayala, who pitched a scoreless top of the 12th after allowing a leadoff single to Hector Luna.
Tommy Hunter started for the Orioles and was hoping to nail down a spot in the rotation. He avoided a decision and pitched seven decent innings, allowing three solo home runs and eight total hits.
Baltimore is a game behind Tampa Bay for the AL East lead, while the New York Yankees sit one-half game off the pace. The Orioles are 1-1 on a six-game homestand and will also entertain the Pittsburgh Pirates for three games.
Jason Hammel hopes to get back in the swing of things when he toes the rubber Sunday for the O's. He is 0-1 in his last two starts since winning three of four trips to the mound, and is coming off Tuesday's 8-6 win at Boston in which he allowed two runs -- one earned -- in five innings.
Hammel, who is 6-2 with a 2.97 earned run average in 11 starts, looks to stay unbeaten at Camden Yards this season. He is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA in four starts at home. The right-hander has faced the Phillies four times (3 starts) in his career, going 1-2 with a lofty 6.75 ERA.
Meanwhile, the Phillies fell back into the loss column with Saturday's tough setback that featured three errors and three home runs.
Luna, Jim Thome and Jimmy Rollins all went deep, while Hunter Pence was busy at the plate with four hits for the Phillies, who had stopped a season-high six-game slide with Friday's win. Thome owns an interleague-best 60 homers.
"We could have shut them out," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We made some mistakes and it cost us. That's how they scored the three runs. One of those three runs was earned but a mistake definitely hurt us."
Vance Worley got the start for Philadelphia, which is last in the NL East at seven games behind Washington, and allowed three runs -- one earned -- through six innings of work. Rosenberg later absorbed the loss.
The Phillies are 1-1 so far on a nine-game road trip and will also visit Minnesota and Toronto on the trek. They are still 13-6 in their last 19 road games with a 9-3 record in the past 12.
It's rare for a pitcher to possess an earned run average below 3.00 and still have no wins to show for it. That's exactly what Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee is experiencing and he will take the mound again today. Lee is 0-3 with a 2.92 ERA in nine starts this season and lost his most recent outing on Tuesday in a 2-1 setback versus the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lee struck out 12 batters, but allowed two runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings to suffer the loss. No Phillies pitcher has been winless with a 3.00 ERA or better after his first nine starts in a season until Lee in 2012. The National League began tracking earned runs back in 1912.
"I'm not really frustrated," Lee said on the club's website. "I'm not. All I can do is throw pitches. I don't set goals -- am I going to have this many wins or whatever. I just put up as many zeros as I can, get deep in the game, throw strikes, don't walk guys, give the team a chance to win. That's all I can do, and that's what I'm going to continue to try to do. Would I like to have a better record or like to have had some wins? Yeah. But what can I do about that?"
The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner has fanned at least six batters in eight straight starts and has received very little run support. Lee has no record and a 2.17 ERA in four road starts this season and is 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA in seven career starts against the Orioles.
The Orioles swept the Phillies in three games back in 2009 at Citizens Bank Park and have won six of the last eight matchups between the clubs. Baltimore, of course, defeated Philadelphia in five games to win the 1983 World Series.