Jones's Hit Helps O's Salvage Finale

No Sweep for Sox After Late Rally: Orioles 6, Red Sox 3

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 3, 2008; Page E03

BALTIMORE, June 2 -- As 25,711 fans rose to their feet at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Monday night, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones stood calmly at home plate, staring down a nervous reliever whose night was about to get worse.

Boston Red Sox left-hander Hideki Okajima had already allowed the tying run to score on Kevin Millar's sacrifice fly. The pitcher walked catcher Ramón Hernández to load the bases with two outs for Jones, who with one swing could push the reeling Orioles to a much-needed victory with a daunting nine-game road trip in the offing.

With the count at a hitter-friendly 3-1, Jones could settle comfortably into the batter's box and wait for a perfect pitch.

"It wasn't me that was under pressure, it was him," Jones said.

Jones got his pitch, hammering a middle-of-the-plate fastball off the top of the wall in left field. As left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury tumbled to the ground after his failed leaping attempt at snaring the drive, every Oriole on base scored.

With that, Baltimore took a 6-3 victory that helped them avoid what would have been a four-game sweep by the Red Sox, "It was a good baseball game, a game I thought we needed to win," Orioles Manager Dave Trembley said.

Before the fourth inning, Trembley used his finger to trace the chalk outline of the batters' boxes near home plate. The manager had already been sentenced to an early shower by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez, though it hardly kept Trembley from making his point about the strike zone.

He called out to the umpire several times from the dugout before Marquez had enough.

"Then I had to show him where I thought they were," said Trembley, explaining his need to draw lines in the dirt.

Facing Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, the Orioles broke through in the fourth inning when Aubrey Huff doubled to right field to score Melvin Mora and Millar followed with a single to right-center. The back-to-back hits gave the Orioles a 2-0 advantage.

As expected, the Boston offense delivered an answer.

In the sixth inning, slugger Manny Ramírez hit his third home run of the series, hammering a rare Jeremy Guthrie mistake pitch into the stands in right-center for a solo shot. Guthrie then paid a steep price for his only walk of the game: After Guthrie issued the free pass to Alex Cora, Kevin Cash lined a run-scoring double to right. And with that, Guthrie left the game, having allowed just the two runs in 6 2/3 innings.

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