Posted July 18, 2012 on
AP on Fox
J.J. Hardy is one of the players Baltimore manager Buck Showalter knows he can lean on when things get tough.
The Orioles are having a pretty hard time lately, and for one of the few times in Hardy's season and a half in Baltimore, the steady shortstop faltered in a big moment.
Hardy's throwing error in the seventh inning led to two runs that proved to be the difference in a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
''It's frustrating, for sure,'' Hardy said. ''Whenever defense or pitching lets us down, or even hitting, it's frustrating.''
The game was tied with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Jamey Carroll and Denard Span reached on back-to-back singles. Hardy's errant throw got past Mark Reynolds at first base on a play that was ruled a hit for Span and an error that allowed Carroll to advance to third.
''It was a tough play,'' said Hardy, who committed just his fifth error of the season. ''Denard's fast. I didn't get a good grip on it and just tried to get it over there.''
With new life, Ben Revere's bloop single gave the Twins a 5-4 lead and Mauer followed with a single that tailed just past a diving Hardy's glove to make it 6-4.
Showalter wasn't about to fault Hardy, a player the manager has high respect for after watching his work ethic and production since he arrived in Baltimore.
''It was a play that Mark usually makes,'' Showalter said. ''J.J.'s one of the best shortstops in baseball. He made a lot of plays tonight a lot of guys don't make.''
Adam Jones hit a three-run homer for Baltimore, but Zach Britton gave up four runs on six hits with a career-high six walks in four innings as the O's dropped their third in a row to fall 10 games behind the Yankees in the AL East.
Jones was at the plate with a runner on in the ninth, but Jared Burton struck him out for his third save.
Joe Mauer had three hits and an RBI for the Twins, who got 4 2-3 innings of scoreless relief from their bullpen to rally from a 4-1 deficit.
Alex Burnett (3-2) pitched an inning for the win and Luis Ayala (2-3) gave up two runs on five hits in 2 2-3 innings for the loss.
Jeff Gray, Tyler Robertson, Burnett and Glen Perkins combined to get the ball to Burton after a surprising pitching duel between Britton and Samuel Deduno fizzled quickly in the fifth.
Britton was making his season debut after a long road of recovery from shoulder problems. He had platelet-rich plasma therapy in March and didn't start pitching in the minor leagues until being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on June 6.
Britton gave up a run on a double by Jamey Carroll that tied the game in the fourth inning and was knocked out of the game in the fifth after back-to-back walks loaded the bases with nobody out. Doumit followed with a two-run single off of Ayala and Brian Dozier's RBI single tied the game at 4.
''Six walks is absolutely unacceptable,'' Britton said. ''There's no way that should happen. I put Ayala in a tough spot and he did the best he could.''
Things looked good for the Orioles early when Nick Markakis, who had three hits, scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 lead in the first inning and Jones hit a three-run blast to make it 4-1 in the fifth.
But Britton couldn't hold it.
''It was really frustrating,'' Britton said. ''I expect to go deep in games. We put up a four-spot and I have to go out and attack those guys.''
Deduno gave up four runs - three earned - on six hits with five walks and five strikeouts in 4 1-3 innings.
''We just need to put it back together,'' Hardy said. ''It's been a rough couple of games. We need to turn it around.''
NOTES: The Orioles had a web gem in the eighth when Reynolds tracked a foul ball back toward the seats and made the catch as he tumbled into the stands to retire Dozier. ... Baltimore fell to 16-4 when Jones homers. ... Showalter said they wouldn't rush 2B Brian Roberts' decision on whether to have surgery to repair a groin injury that put the oft-injured Roberts on the DL on July 3. ''It's a pretty serious decision,'' Showalter said. ''Surgery takes him out for the year.'' ... The Twins will go to LHP Francisco Liriano (3-8, 4.93) on Wednesday night in the third gamer of the series. Liriano has been superb since rejoining the rotation and struck out 15 in his previous start. He'll face Orioles RHP Tommy Hunter (3-4, 6.11), who is being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to make the start.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
MINNEAPOLIS Shortstop J.J. Hardy was a member of the Minnesota Twins team that opened Target Field by winning the American League Central in the ballpark's inaugural season.
Two years later, he has a chance to again be a key contributor on a playoff team, this time with the surprising Baltimore Orioles. Through Tuesday's game against his former Minnesota squad, Hardy and...
I would say definitely.
Miguel Gonzalez has been one of the many great stories that have happened in Baltimore this season and he could not have emerged at a better time. With the exception of Wei-Yin Chen the Orioles’ Ppening Day 5-man rotation is either in the minors or on the disabled list; Jason Hammel was placed on the 15 day DL and had surgery on a loose piece of cartilage...
J.J. Hardy won’t run this town any longer. After hitting seven home runs and posting a tremendous .922 OPS in May, Hardy’s followed with an abysmal .498 OPS in June, and an awful .329 OPS in July. Yes, some of this variance is due to fluctuations in his BABIP and home run to fly ball rate, but when you have an OPS that low it is hard to simply dismiss it as bad luck. J.J., can...
Second baseman Robert Andino was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Orioles and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks after suffering a left shoulder subluxation attempting to dive for a ball against Detroit on Sunday. The move is retroactive to July 16. Andino is hitting .230 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 79 games, and Steve Tolleson and Ryan Flaherty will share time in his...
With their starting rotation in a state of flux, the injury-plagued Baltimore Orioles are counting on Zach Britton to help provide some stability.
Britton is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to make his season debut Tuesday night as the visiting Orioles take on the Minnesota Twins, who broke out in a big way during the opener of this four-game set.
After going 11-11...
The Baltimore Orioles are currently searching for a way to make the playoffs for the first time since 1997. They are quickly running out options after a cruel twist of fate further crippled a pitching staff that was already teetering. The Orioles fell 4-0 to the Detroit Tigers, but the most crucial blow of the day came from off the field in the training room.
After Saturday’s thrilling win against the Detroit Tigers, things seem to have only gotten worse for the Orioles. They lost on Sunday, and figured their first stop on a weeklong road trip against the woeful Minnesota Twins might do some good.Sadly, it would not go as planned. The Orioles were hoping for another good start from Chris Tillman and were optimistic in his abilities...
Not too long ago we were all dazzled by the enormous amount of talent on display at this years All-Star Futures Game, which aired on ESPN the day before the Home Run Derby. The Baltimore Orioles had two players in that showcase game: Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy. The two of them are some of the most prized commodities in the game. Although Bundy’s Futures Game performance was...
MINNEAPOLIS The last time Jim Thome came to Target Field, he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. At the time of that mid-June series, it appeared as if that was Thome's last visit to Minnesota.But the former Twins slugger was traded to Baltimore on June 30, and he returned to Target Field once again Monday as Minnesota hosts a four-game series with the Orioles this week...
A piece of memorabilia that once was lost has now been found. Last month, Jim Thome hit his 607th career home run against the Twins at Target Field when he was still with the Phillies. The ball appeared to land in one of the flower pots above the wall in right-center field and was not recovered until the following day. Now, it is in Twins manager Ron Gardenhire’s possession. Thome...
Yesterday, the Orioles got a well-needed victory as Tommy Hunter’s arm and Adam Jones’ propelled them over the Minnesota Twins, 2-1.
Baltimore snapped a painful three-game losing streak and finally got a stellar performance from a starting pitcher. Hunter, who was demoted back to the minors again this season for the second time, was brought back up to the majors to stop the...
Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the first inning against Francisco Liriano and the Baltimore Orioles hung on to beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Josh Willingham's home run in the fourth was all Minnesota could manage against Tommy Hunter (4-4), who returned to Baltimore's stumbling rotation with a solid performance that lasted one out into the eighth inning...
The last time Jim Thome was at Target Field, the slugger hit his 607th career homer into the flower bed in right-center field while he was playing with the Phillies.
It took the Twins two days to find the ball buried underneath the flowers and the Phillies had left town by then. So Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has it enclosed in a clear case in his office and he had a playful message...
After months of deliberation and well-intentioned procrastination, we've gotten the Effectively Wild podcast off the ground. Between Up and In and Tower of Power, BP is already well stocked with weekly podcasts, so we're trying to do something different: a much shorter podcast that appears much more often. Each time out, we'll pick an interesting topic or two from the...