Bronx, NY - During his years as the skipper of the Orioles, Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver believed in the three-run homer as the team’s most effective weapon. Although the Baltimore batters did not hit a three-run home run on Saturday, they drove in all their six runs with home runs.
During the past month, the home run has again become the weapon of choice for the Birds’ batters. Their four homers on Saturday raised their total in June to a major league high of 28. It is the 17th time in little more than one month, May 20, that the Orioles had a multi-home run game.
Adam Jones smacked his 13th homer of the 2014 campaign on a 3-2 pitch with two out in the first frame. After the contest, he stated, “You go out there and hack. We like hitting home runs [and] put some runs on the board. That’s part of our game.”
When asked if he feels motivated playing in New York since he does so well there, he eagerly remarked, “It’s the Big Apple. The spotlight’s on you. If you’re not ready, you should be in the stands.”
The second home run for Baltimore was hit with no out in the fourth with jones on first after drawing a walk. Nelson Cruz drove the ball into the seats in right for his 23rd four bagger of the season. Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter commented on Cruz’s productivity at the plate this year, “He’s having as solid a year offensively as anyone.”
Hot hitting leftfielder Steve Pearce took a full count pitch into the seats in the fifth to drive in the next two Oriole runs. Pearce is batting .421 in his last 11 games and has raised his season batting average to .333.
The home run has been a shortcoming for Yankee starter Vidal Nuño at his home ballpark this year. The three homers he yielded on Saturday give him a total of 13 given up in only eight starts at Yankee Stadium. The loss he suffered on Saturday was the fourth straight decision he has dropped.
The final Oriole home run of the contest was struck off reliever Jose Ramirez in the eighth. It brought relief to the batter, J. J. Hardy, as he had not homered since September 5, 2013. The 2013 All-Star shortstop had gone 339 at bats since last hitting a home run. Hardy’s return to the dugout was initially met with the silent treatment. Despite the humorous reaction, Showalter admitted, “I wanted to hug him when he came back.”
The only Yankee run also came from a home run. Mark Teixeira hit his 150th as a Yankee in the fourth. He now has a 10 game hitting streak.
The rubber game on Sunday afternoon, following the old Timers’ Day festivities, will have Masahiro Tanaka starting for the Yankees and Chris Tillman for the Birds.