Adams' walk-off hit in 10th saves Orioles from loss to Blue Jays
Rookie gives O's 6-5 win over Toronto after they had blown 9th-inning lead
Orioles rookie Ryan Adams, left, is congratulated by Adam Jones after his game-winning hit against the Blue Jays in the 10th inning. (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam / August 30, 2011)
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Then, on Monday in a loss to the New York Yankees, he had his "This is the big leagues, kid" moment, striking out in all three of his at-bats.
Adams, a former second-rounder who possesses a definite swagger, didn't seem fazed by the rough game and neither did Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Adams was back in the starting lineup again Tuesday for the ninth consecutive time, and it was his long fly ball to the right-center gap that gave the Orioles a wild, 6-5, 10-inning win against the Toronto Blue Jays.
"It felt good. I had an opportunity earlier, too (when he popped up with the bases loaded in the eighth)," said Adams, who is 11-for-30 in his return to the Orioles. "I was pretty upset with myself. This time, I got ahead in the count 3-1 and I just knew ... I was looking at something over the plate."
With runners on first and third and one out, Adams drove a pitch from Toronto reliever Brian Tallet (0-1) that allowed Mark Reynolds to jog home from third with the game-winner. The Orioles entered the 10th trailing by a run, but pinch-hitter Jake Fox tied it with a single to center.
Adams' reward was his first shaving cream pie in the face.
"It was a really good feeling," Adams said. "Watching TV, I've always kind of wanted a pie in the face, so it was nice."
In the ninth, the good feelings were at a premium for the Orioles and the announced crowd of 10,756.
Closer Kevin Gregg entered with the Orioles clinging to a 4-3 lead and immediately surrendered a single on his first offering. He then issued a four-pitch walk to ninth-place hitter Mike McCoy.
Then it really got interesting.
Yunel Escobar attempted to bunt, and the Orioles corner infielders started in. Escobar pulled back, and immediately the Blue Jays baserunners at first and second caught the Orioles in a bad defensive position.
Adams ran toward first, leaving second base open. Third baseman Robert Andino headed home and shortstop J.J. Hardy was stuck between a vacated second and a vacated third, while the Blue Jays successfully orchestrated a double steal.
"I know where (the mistake) is, but that's a blame game," Showalter said. "I know you're curious about it. I know exactly what should have happened and didn't happen and it won't happen again, especially considering the people."
Escobar then hit a sinking liner to right that Nick Markakis caught on a dive. The right fielder jumped up and threw a perfect strike to third but couldn't get McCoy while pinch-runner Dewayne Wise scored the tying run. The Orioles protested both tag-ups Wise, in particular, appeared to leave early -- and were denied.
"That's why I made a visit, to make sure we appealed to third and we appealed to second," Showalter said. "We've got an overhead (shot) that I'll be looking at shortly. Not that it matters now."
Gregg eventually escaped the mess, but was charged with his sixth blown save in 25 opportunities.
"I try to dwell on some of the positives. A lot of guys would have let that inning get real big and away from him, and he held them to one run," Showalter said about Gregg, who walked three (one intentional) in the ninth. "He's had some real good outings for us against tough competition. Tonight was one where command wasn't as good, but he came back and got some big outs."
The Orioles then appeared to throw the game away in the top of the 10th when Kelly Johnson led off with a triple and scored on a wild pitch by Willie Eyre (1-0).