Adam Jones hits pair of home runs, helps Baltimore Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-2
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Adam Jones' swing certainly looked fine a week after the Home Run Derby, an event that's knocked more than a few sluggers off kilter.
Jones hit a pair of two-run homers Monday night, including a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-2.
"I just try to bring what I bring to my team," Jones said after his fifth two-homer game in the majors. "I swing. I'm hacking. Sometimes you run into them."
Jones, who didn't make it past the second round in the Derby last week, opened the scoring in the first with a drive into the left-field bullpen after a single by Nick Markakis.
Angels rookie Matt Shoemaker retired his next 15 batters - striking out eight - before Markakis doubled with one out in the sixth. One out later, Jones hit his 19th homer to left-center for a 4-2 lead.
"I didn't know anything about him, but that's what scouting reports are for," Jones said. "We had an idea of what he throws, but nobody had seen him. So when you go up there, the best way to figure things out is trial and error. He gave up two home runs, but overall, his plan worked. He had a lot of strikeouts."
Bud Norris (8-6) won for the fifth time in his last six starts, allowing two runs - one earned - and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings with eight strikeouts and two walks. The Orioles increased their AL East lead to four games over the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.
Norris was recalled from Double-A Bowie, where he was optioned on July 10 in order to keep him on his regular routine during the All-Star break. The Orioles did the same thing with Tuesday's scheduled starter, Miguel Gonzalez, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on July 11.
"I was pretty excited to get back," Norris said. "It was hard to be away from the team and watching on the couch. But I knew what the whole purpose was - to keep me on my rotation and keep me pitching. When you're off for 15 days and you're not working out, your body can get out of sync. ... I just wanted to pick up where I left off."
The Orioles got a scare in the second when Norris took a hard-hit grounder by Hank Conger off his right ankle for a base hit.
"It's a little sore, but it's OK," Norris said. "We wrapped it up the next half inning and kept going. It affected me a little bit from the windup, to be honest, because you have to push off. So I felt a little more comfortable from the stretch."
Zach Britton pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save. The left-hander was smacked on the right arm by pinch-hitter Erick Aybar's comebacker, but also escaped injury.
"It got me directly on the elbow. I've got a great ball mark - seams and everything," Britton said. "I was just trying to get some feeling back in my hand while we were waiting. I mean, I could feel my glove on my hand, but that was just about it. But I wasn't about to come out right there, especially because it wasn't my throwing arm."
Setup man Darren O'Day, who began his big league career with the Angels in 2008, pitched a perfect eighth to lower his ERA to 1.04 - the best among AL relievers.
"I've always had an affinity for him from afar, and I've always hoped I could have him on a club," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I mean, you like him as much as a person as you do a pitcher. And that's saying a lot, because he's a pretty good pitcher. Darren's been solid since the day he walked in, and he's a very quiet leader of that bullpen."
Shoemaker (7-3) gave up four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings, striking out 10 and walking none. The loss left the Angels two games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West.
The Angels tied it 2-all in the fourth when Howie Kendrick led off with a ground-rule double and scored on Conger's sharp single to right. A two-out infield hit by Calhoun then loaded the bases for All-Star game MVP Mike Trout, who took a called third strike and immediately got into umpire Eric Cooper's face - but didn't get ejected.
"It was a big pitch in the game," Trout said. "The count could have gone to 3-2, so you never know what could have happened. I thought it was a ball. It looked outside, but what are you going to do?"
Trout was called out on strikes again his next time up and had more to say to Cooper before manager Mike Scioscia came out to make sure his power-hitting center fielder stayed in the game.
"There was a wide zone for both clubs, I think, and you have to live with it," Scioscia said. "It's part of what we talk about. You have to absorb the pitch you don't get or the pitch that's called against you."
NOTES: Albert Pujols flied out on a 3-0 pitch in the fifth. The three-time NL MVP is batting .432 in his career on 3-0 counts (32 for 74) with six homers and 22 RBIs. ... The Angels, who came in leading the majors in runs, didn't get a hit after Josh Hamilton's one-out single in the fifth. ... The Orioles optioned C Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a roster spot for Norris. They will have to make another corresponding move when Gonzalez rejoins the 25-man roster.