MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Adam Jones hopes things are falling into place for him.
A day after a costly slip in center field, Jones hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning that sent the Baltimore Orioles over the Minnesota Twins 3-2 on Thursday."Jones has been the kind of guy that bounces back from bad games," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He's a mentally tough kid, and he did it again today."With the score 2-all, Jones led off the seventh by hitting a hanging slider from reliever Brian Bass (2-2) into the left-field seats, his 10th of the year.Acquired as the top prospect in the offseason trade that sent All-Star pitcher Erik Bedard to Seattle, Jones delivered his second key hit of the week. In Monday's win over Boston, Jones hit a three-run double to break an eighth-inning tie."Baltimore has been a real good fit for me, and I feel like everything is starting to come together," Jones said.On Wednesday night, Jones went 0-for-4 and fell while catching Joe Mauer's sacrifice fly, letting two runs score in a 7-5 loss.Garrett Olson (5-1) pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits. He didn't make the team in camp but is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last three starts."He had some problems coming out of spring training, especially commanding his fastball," Trembley said. "He's improved a lot. Last year he might not have been able to handle some of the things he has this year. He's matured."Olson came into the game averaging more than seven strikeouts per nine innings but struck out just one, saying he didn't have his best stuff."In that situation you have to start changing speeds more and going inside more, and that worked for me," Olson said.George Sherrill pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 attempts, working around Nick Punto's one-out double.Twins starter Scott Baker, making his first start in over a month, came off the disabled list and gave up two runs and five hits in five innings of work.Baker strained his right groin on May 3, putting him on the 15-day DL for the first time in his career."I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous, just going out there for the sheer fact that I hadn't been in a game in a month," Baker said. "But I had to keep telling myself that I had made some rehab starts, and I was able to go out there and feel pretty good."Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game that Baker would be allowed to throw 85 to 90 pitches. He had 81 pitches after four innings but was allowed to complete the fifth and finished with 99 pitches."He was OK," Gardenhire said. "The ball was up a little bit and I don't think he was sharp with his breaking ball."The Twins made it 2-all in the fifth on an RBI single from Alexi Casilla. Recently called up because of injuries in the infield, Casilla had three hits but also grounded into a double play with two runners on to end the seventh.The Twins stranded runners in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, including runners in scoring position in the final two.In the eighth, the Twins put two on against reliever Jim Johnson. Mauer, 7-for-15 with two home runs in his last four games, entered as a pinch-hitter and grounded out to end the inning."These are the kind of games when you need one big hit, and we couldn't come up with it," Gardenhire said.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress was in the Twins clubhouse before the game, talking with Gardenhire. ... Though Orioles shortstop Freddie Bynum brought a .212 average and only two RBIs in 66 at-bats into the game, Trembley said Bynum is the still starter -- though Alex Cintron is in the mix. Bynum, though, needs to shorten his swing and improve his discipline at the plate. "If you look at his history, his walks and strikeouts, there is too big of a disparity there," Trembley said. ... Twins shortstop Adam Everett won't begin throwing until the Twins return from their road trip June 17, at the earliest. Everett went on the disabled list May 22 with a shoulder injury and isn't expected back until well after the All-Star break.