ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Adam Jones hit a pair of two-run homers, including a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 Monday night.
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.
Zach Britton pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.
Rookie right-hander Matt Shoemaker (7-3) gave up four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings, striking out 10 and walking none. The loss put the Angels two games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West.
Jones, who didn’t make it past the second round in last week’s All-Star Home Run Derby, opened the scoring in the first with a drive into the left-field bullpen after a single by Nick Markakis. 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. It was his fifth two-homer game in the majors.
Josh Hamilton drove in the Angels’ first run in the first with a two-out RBI single that scored Kole Calhoun, who led off with a single and got to second when shortstop J.J. Hardy threw the ball past second baseman Jonathan Schoop on a fielder’s choice grounder by Mike Trout.
The Angels tied it in the fourth when Howie Kendrick led off with a ground-rule double and scored on Hank Conger’s sharp single to right. The Orioles might have had a shot at Kendrick at the plate had first baseman Chris Davis not cut off the throw from Markakis.
A two-out infield hit by Calhoun then loaded the bases for Trout, who took a called third strike and immediately got into umpire Eric Cooper’s face – but didn’t get ejected. Trout was called out on strikes his next time up and had more to say to Cooper before manager Mike Scioscia came out to make sure the All-Star MVP stayed in the game.
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. … Orioles RHP 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. … The Orioles got a scare in the second when Norris took a hard-hit grounder by Conger off his right ankle for a base hit. Britton was smacked on the right forearm by pinch-hitter Erick Aybar’s comebacker, but also escaped injury. … The Angels, who came in leading the majors in runs, didn’t get a hit after 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 after Gonzalez rejoins the 25-man roster. … Hardy’s error was his ninth of the season and 46th by the Orioles, who have the second-fewest in the majors behind Cincinnati’s 45. … Shoemaker gave up a first-inning run for the first time in 11 big league starts. … Markakis’ double was his 20th, the ninth straight season he has reached that total. His 38 multihit games are tied with Robinson Cano for the second-highest total in the majors behind Jose Altuve’s 42.