BALTIMORE -- There's no denying the winds of change haven't just swirled, they've stormed through Baltimore, resulting in the trades of six key players and leaving a roster nearly barren of the Orioles' 2014 American League East-winning team.The one constant over the past decade of Orioles baseball -- the good,
BALTIMORE -- There's no denying the winds of change haven't just swirled, they've stormed through Baltimore, resulting in the trades of six key players and leaving a roster nearly barren of the Orioles' 2014 American League East-winning team.
The one constant over the past decade of Orioles baseball -- the good, bad and in between -- has been Adam Jones. And on Wednesday, the 33-year-old -- who turned down a midseason trade -- helped give the O's something they haven't had all season: a home series sweep. Jones' grand slam -- on a five-RBI night -- helped propel Baltimore to a 10-5 win over the Blue Jays at Camden Yards.
It was Jones' first slam since 2008 -- his first season with the O's -- and it was poignant for the club's longest-tenured player. In a season with little to cheer for, there was the home crowd, on its feet to applaud everything No. 10 has stood for.
• Trumbo opts for season-ending knee surgery
"Obviously, the grand slam put us on top and completely switched the momentum of the game," Orioles starter Alex Cobb said. "It's just fun to see [Jones] have fun. He's meant so much to this organization, for him to go out there and have big moments like that in a season that's kind of lost for us, it's fun to see and fun to be a part of. I don't know what the future holds for him here, but being his teammate has been a lot of fun."
Down 4-1 in the fifth inning, Jones, who is a free agent at season's end, sent Jays starter Ryan Borucki's 3-1 changeup into left field for a clutch two-out blast. Austin Wynns snapped an 0-for-15 with a one-out single and Craig Gentry and Trey Mancini -- who homered in the fourth -- also singled with two outs to load the bases for Jones.
"We've got nothing to lose," Jones said of the Orioles winning three straight games and playing much better as of late. "And when you've got nothing to lose, you might as well let your hair down and do everything that you want to do."
The blast, Jones' 14th homer of the season, also helped cover the struggles of Cobb. The righty, who has been the O's best second-half pitcher, was charged with five runs over 5 2/3 innings, including a solo shot by Devon Travis that tied it up at 5 in the sixth.
But the Orioles wouldn't go quietly. Wynns drove in the go-ahead run on a single into the left-center-field gap in the bottom of the sixth, with the O's tacking on a run on Dennis Tepera's wild pitch.
Baltimore got three more runs in the eighth, including Jones' fifth RBI off righty Ken Giles.
"We're playing great. We're putting up a ton of runs each game. We're playing great defense. There's just an energy, there's a confidence about some guys getting an opportunity to play," Cobb said of the series. "And you have to take advantage of it when you're a younger guy. Know that you're on an audition and there's always somebody else out there that wants your job, so there's no lack of energy in the clubhouse, for sure."
The O's bullpen combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings to seal the win, with Sean Gilmartin, Miguel Castro, Paul Fry and Mychal Givens finishing off the victory.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Andreoli's wheels: Playing in place of Cedric Mullins, who is dealing with a left hip issue, John Andreoli showcased his speed in a crucial spot in the sixth. First, he beat out a routine grounder for an infield single. Then he stole second base and scored on Wynns' single.
"One thing he's shown since he got here is, he can really run," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Stolen base, he actually didn't get a great break, but outran the ball."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
A raccoon was present for most of the three-game series, causing quite a stir. The Orioles' raccoon became a social-media sensation and was dubbed the "rally raccoon" in the team's pressbox. The O's announced midway through the game that the raccoon had left the building, joking that if the score didn't change, they would invite him back. Shortly after, Jones hit his grand slam and the O's official Twitter account showcased a raccoon with a broom after the win.
HE SAID IT
"The best thing we can give the guys who are getting a shot here and throughout the next month is just to be here in this environment, get the opportunity and see what they can do. ... This next four weeks will be a good test for a lot of guys going forward to see what they can do in the Major Leagues. It's exciting because people go out there and get an opportunity. It's good for me as an older guy to see people really grab on to the opportunity." -- Jones
The Orioles will enjoy an off-day on Thursday before heading to Kansas City to open a three-city road trip. Andrew Cashner will get the start opposite Royals righty Brad Keller in the 8:15 p.m. ET opener at Kauffman Stadium on Friday.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.