NEW YORK -- They wore fleece beanies in batting practice, long sleeves under their uniforms and some even donned ski masks. Yes, it was unseasonably cold at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night, with gusting winds and temperatures in the low 40s. But the one thing that finally started to heat
NEW YORK -- They wore fleece beanies in batting practice, long sleeves under their uniforms and some even donned ski masks. Yes, it was unseasonably cold at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night, with gusting winds and temperatures in the low 40s. But the one thing that finally started to heat up? The Orioles' bats.
A Baltimore club that entered with the fewest runs scored in the Majors broke out for a five-run seventh inning -- highlighted by Adam Jones' two-run homer -- to snap a five-game losing skid with a 5-2 series-opening win. The victory saw the Orioles record double-digit hits in backing a solid six innings by starter Andrew Cashner.
"Adam's off to a good start," manager Buck Showalter said of Jones, who has hit three of the team's six homers this season, all coming in the sixth inning or later. "I tried to do it last year, but the personnel didn't let us, try to back off him some and some of these day games maybe DH him, and maybe an off-day here and there. He's off to a good start."
Jones, who seems to be the guy in this young season to give the Orioles a lift when they need it most, got Baltimore on the scoreboard after Aaron Judge's solo homer. Jones, who was the walk-off hero on Opening Day, deposited Masahiro Tanaka's 0-1 slider into left-center field -- also scoring Jonathan Schoop -- to give the O's a big breath of relief.
Upon exhale, they plated three more runs, chasing Tanaka from the game after Timothy Beckham's one-out single. From there, the Orioles piled on Chad Green, who surrendered a hit to Colby Rasmus, Anthony Santander's RBI double and a two-run single from Trey Mancini. Mancini had three hits in his first game this season out of the leadoff spot.
"[The offense breaking out is] huge, because then it started back over after I hit the home run. The bases got empty, and we put up three more runs," said Jones, who has a team-leading seven RBIs.
"When we all are swinging the bats good, we just pass the baton to the next guy. When you've got a guy in front of you who hits the ball hard, it's incentive itself to try and do the same thing."
The O's can only hope their rotation feels the same way. Cashner, who had a disappointing debut against the Twins last week, rebounded nicely and followed up a solid outing from righty Dylan Bundy on Wednesday.
Cashner held a dangerous Yankee lineup to just two hits, one of which was Judge's sixth-inning homer. Cashner struck out five and walked three in the 100-pitch outing and may have gone out for the seventh if not for the Orioles' long top half of the inning.
"I felt good in the first start. A couple of those balls [against the Twins] I didn't think were home runs, but I think for the most part, I was trying to drive through the catcher tonight more than anything," Cashner said. "The biggest thing is, I had a lot better slider tonight than I did the first night."
Tanaka also showed his slider a lot, using predominantly offspeed pitches to keep the O's on their heels. And it worked until Jones broke things open.
"I don't know it. It's just how the game's changed," Jones said, when asked if he thinks pitchers are throwing even more offspeed stuff this season. "People are spinning the ball more often than throwing the four-seam. I'm not a pitcher, I don't know the philosophy beyond the evolution. I just have to deal with it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Breaking the string: Tanaka had retired 10 straight Orioles heading into the seventh inning, but the outing turned quickly. Schoop singled and Jones hit a deep drive to left field that carried over a leaping Giancarlo Stanton for a two-run homer. Two batters later, Tanaka's night was over and the O's carried on against Green, scoring three more runs.
"Tanaka, we kind of know what these guys are going to try to do to you and they still do it," Showalter said. "That's why he's a good pitcher."
O'Day's escape:Darren O'Day pitched into trouble in the eighth inning, hitting Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez back-to-back to load the bases. That brought up Walker representing the potential go-ahead run. After a mound visit, O'Day watched Neil Walker connect with three foul balls before getting him to tap an 87.1-mph fastball back to the mound, ending the inning and stranding three runners.
"Whose idea was it to start the season early?" -- Showalter, who came out to do his interview in a parka
"Baseball is flipping a coin. I don't really know. I'm just trying to do my thing, I guess. I don't have that answer. I wish I did, but I don't. That'll make me start thinking, and I'm not trying to think." -- Jones, on his hot start
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Mancini was called out at home plate following a first-inning review, having been initially ruled safe by umpire Ron Kulpa. Jones ripped a two-out double past third baseman Miguel Andujar, with Mancini dashing around from first base. Gregorius fired a strong relay throw from medium-depth left field, which was snared by Sanchez and applied to Mancini's thigh an instant before his left hand touched home plate.
In the eighth inning, Brett Gardner adamantly declared that he was hit on the hand by an O'Day pitch, convincing manager Aaron Boone to challenge the ruling on the field. After a brief review, the call of no hit-by-pitch was confirmed. Gardner made it to first base anyway, working a walk later in the at-bat.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman will take the mound at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday for the second of this four-game set. The righty allowed three homers in a four-inning outing that resulted in six runs and a loss to the Twins in his season debut on Sunday. He'll have to find a way to pitch better in New York, as he allowed 12 runs in two starts at Yankee Stadium in 2017.
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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.