Adam Jones went 2-for-4 with a pair of two-run homers in Monday's 4-2 win against the Angels.
Jones' first inning shot off Matt Shoemaker plated Nick Markakis and put the Orioles on top 2-0. Five frames later, deja vu, only this time Jones was even more emphatic, pulverizing the ball 443 feet over the left center wall to give Baltimore a 4-2 lead it wouldn't relinquish. Jones has two homers and nine RBI over his last three games. His slash line is up to a healthy .300/.325/.500, and the outfielder is on pace for 31 homers and 104 RBI.
Zach Britton worked a scoreless ninth inning on Monday to earn save No. 17 as the Orioles emerged victorious against the Angels.
Britton has worked a pair of perfect appearances since blowing the save and taking the loss by allowing three runs without retiring a batter Friday against the A's. Since June 21, those three runs are the only runs he's yielded. He's given up runs in only three of 34 appearances since the start of May. Britton boasts a stellar 1.81 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.
In his return to the rotation, Bud Norris allowed two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings Monday against the Angels.
Demoted prior to the All-Star break to keep him on a regular pitching schedule, Norris walked two and allowed eight hits, but he also struck out eight. The right-hander struggled in his one-start sojourn in Double-A, so it was nice to see a quick return to form at the game's highest level. Norris (8-6, 3.78 ERA) stays out West next time around, taking on the Mariners this weekend in Seattle.
Matt Shoemaker struck out 10 but fell to 7-3, allowing four runs over 5 2/3 innings as the Angels lost to the Orioles 4-2 on Monday.
Shoemaker didn't walk a batter and surrendered five hits. He would have won this game, but couldn't figure out how to pitch to Adam Jones, against whom he served up a pair of two-run homers. The right-hander has shuffled between the rotation and bullpen all year, entering this contest 6-1 with a 4.15 ERA as a starter. Despite the loss, the Angels are the majors' best home team at 34-17.
Dustin Ackley had a monster game in Monday's 5-2 win over the Mets, going 3-for-4 at the dish and robbing a homer in the field.
Ackley's heroics improved Seattle to 53-46, 2 1/2 games up for the second Wild Card slot in the American League. The outfielder had two singles and an RBI double, but his most impressive display came in stealing Travis d'Arnaud's sixth inning would-be-homer. Ackley started heating up right when we started hearing his name in trade rumors; he's batting .360 (18-for-50) in July.
Willie Bloomquist went 3-for-5 with a steal, two runs scored, and an RBI double in a win over the Mets on Monday.
Somebody out there will wake up tomorrow morning grinning ear-to-ear that Bloomquist was in his AL-only fantasy lineup tonight. Chances are, that isn't you. In truth, nobody could have seen a big night coming from the veteran utilityman. This was Bloomquist's first steal of the season, his first three-hit game of the year, and the double represented his first extra-base hit since June 22. Willie Bloomquist will now return to being Willie Bloomquist.
In his return from the disabled list, Jon Niese allowed four earned runs over six innings in the Mets' loss to the Mariners on Monday.
Out since early July with shoulder inflammation, Niese punched out six and issued two free passes. The Mariners weren't fooled by his stuff, collecting 11 hits. Regardless, New York is happy to have Niese back, if for no other reason than to showcase him. The left-hander's contract is extremely team-friendly, paying out just $16 million over the next two seasons, with the Mets also in possession of a pair of club options totaling $21 million after that. Outside of a rusty return from layoff, Niese has been remarkably consistent; this was the first time he'd yielded more than three earned runs in a start. Now 5-5 with a 3.13 ERA, Niese heads to Milwaukee this weekend.
Joe Nathan worked around a single to toss a scoreless ninth, preserve a 4-3 win, and earn his 20th save of the season Monday against Arizona.
Nathan has finished off scoreless appearances in six of his last seven. Unfortunately, the one he didn't was a three-run implosion over the weekend against the Indians, after which the media began discussing his job security. Nathan has been scored upon in 10 of his last 22 appearances, but manager Brad Ausmus has proven he'll grant an extremely long leash. Nathan is 20-for-25 in save conversions to go with a 5.89 ERA and 1.53 WHIP.