SEATTLE – Hitting his 30th home run of the season means something to
, he’s not going to lie.
But what really matters is when it happened and what it means to this surprising season.
Jones’ career-best 30th home run came in the top of the 11th inning Wednesday, breaking a tie and securing the Orioles’ 3-1 victory over the
"Thirty, I mean that's a great number. Tremendous accomplishment," said Jones, who becomes the sixth outfielder in Orioles' history to reach that milestone in a season. "I think it didn't matter what number it was. I think just a homer in that situation to put us up, to put us ahead, even if it was just a regular hit [is more important]. Anything to put this team ahead and help this team I'm down for."
The Orioles (85-64) are now a half game back in the
“I’ve only been here for a few weeks and you just get that feeling of a never-say-die attitude. And that’s what we’ve been doing,” said Orioles’ starter
With the score tied 1-1 in the 11th after a tremendous pitcher’s duel between Saunders and Seattle’s
“Adam has got so much want-to and I’m never going to try to take that away from him,” said Orioles manager
Jones, a former Mariner who is from San Diego, always has friends and family at
"My brother's never seen me hit one live, so to hit one in front of him was pretty cool," Jones said. "They were out there happy. We are in a good situation. It was an uplifting home run."
It also guaranteed that the game wouldn't go on any longer – a needed respite for a club that played 18 innings on Tuesday and 14 innings last Thursday. They are an inexplicable 15-2 in extra innings this year, while the Mariners (70-80) fell to 5-9.
“We just play too many. But it’s a great feeling in here that nobody wants to lose,” said reliever
"With this team, we've got great players, and in all these games we think somebody's going to do something for the win."
For a few tense moments in the bottom of the 11th, it looked like the extra-inning magic might slip away.
Before Jaso could do any damage, Saunders attempted to steal and was thrown out at second by reserve catcher
“I didn’t think he was going to run in that situation, provided that Jaso was the hitter,” Teagarden said. “I thought they were going to take their chances with Jaso hitting. When he took off, I was little surprised. … He caught me off guard a little bit, but
Johnson picked up his 45th save – tying Randy Myers for the club record in a single season.
"I couldn't have hoped for anything like what he's done this year," Showalter said of Johnson. "I could have, but there's not a day goes by I don't appreciate him and understand how hard it is for him to do what he's doing at the level he's at."
Every baserunner was at a premium thanks to the pitching – which was also probably aided by two tired offenses.
Saunders, making his fifth start for the Orioles, once again dominated the Mariners, a team he faced often when he played for the
"I didn't know that. I don't know, I like pitching here," Saunders said. "It kind of fits my eye. … Just go out there, pitch to contact, throw strikes and everything will take care of itself."
His only mistake was a solo homer by Gutierrez in the fourth – after Saunders had retired the first 10 Mariners in order. His counterpart, Hernandez, was just as good, lasting eight innings striking out eight batters while allowing six hits and a walk.
The Orioles managed just one run against him – and it was a gamble that worked.
Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale waved Davis around, and the burly designated hitter beat the relay throw to score from first.
Then, the Orioles went into their patented stall offense until striking again in the 11th. The win cemented their first sweep of the Mariners since May 1997, the last year the Orioles had a winning season and made the playoffs.
"Apparently everything we're doing this year we've never done in 15 years," Jones said. "So just add another thing to the list that we haven't done in 15 years."