KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Nick Markakis(notes) used his bat to help Baltimore beat Kansas City 3-2, Jake Arrieta(notes) used his arm and center fielder Adam Jones(notes), just as importantly, used his brain.
Aware of something thousands of Kansas City fans apparently did not know, Jones made no effort to retrieve Mike Aviles’(notes) eighth-inning drive when the ball rolled and wedged itself under the center-field wall Wednesday night.
As Aviles circled the bases with what fans thought was a tying, inside-the-park home run, Jones threw up his hands and appealed to umpire Tim Welke.
Sure enough, in accordance with the ground rules of Kauffman Stadium, Welke called it a double. Aviles went back to second and Alcides Escobar(notes), who had been on first with a single, returned to third.
The Royals wound up getting one run out of the inning, and lost by one run thanks in large part to Jones’ quick thinking. Kansas City had won four in a row.
“I know the ground rules of all the stadiums we play in because situations like that, they happen few and far between, but they happen,” Jones said. “I know the ground rules here.”
If Jones had pulled the ball out from under the base of the fence and thrown it back toward the infield, Escobar would have scored easily and Aviles probably would have been standing on third with a triple, in position to score on the groundball that Melky Cabrera(notes) hit.
Aviles, with a wry smile, could only tip his cap to Jones.
“That’s just a smart, heads-up play. He could go out there and pick up the ball and we’re setting there with a run scored and a man on third,” Aviles said. “It’s a different ballgame. Him putting his hands up, it’s a risky play. He’s been around quite a bit. He knows if it’s going to be a double or not. He looks at the ball and sees it’s stuck, chances are the umpire is going to make the right call and call it a double.”
As the crowd booed, Royals manager Ned Yost went to Welke for an explanation. But Yost did not try to argue with the crew chief.
“Sometimes you get breaks and sometimes you don’t. That would have made a pretty big difference,” Yost said. “Mike would have been on third base. We would have had a run in and Melky’s up and is real good at getting runs in from third base. It didn’t go our way right there.”
“I almost reached for it,” Jones said. “Instinct is to reach for it. I saw it lodged there and I pulled my hand back cause it wasn’t moving. If I’d gotten to the ball, I know Aviles. That’s a triple for the man. It would have been a tough play to get him at third. But we held him at second, held Escobar at third and only gave up one run in that inning.”
It was the 14th victory of the season for the heads-up Orioles, who did not get No. 14 last year until May 21. It was also road win No. 7, putting them six weeks ahead of last year’s pace.
Counting the last two decisions of his rookie campaign in 2010, the 25-year-old right-hander is 6-1 in his last seven decisions.
Brian Roberts(notes) doubled into right-center leading off the game, moved up on Markakis’ deep flyball and scored on Derrek Lee’s(notes) sacrifice fly. Markakis also had an RBI single in the second before homering in the seventh.
Aviles led off the Royals first with a single and Francoeur homered leading off the second, making it 2-1. But after issuing a pair of two-out walks in the second, Arrieta struck out Aviles and retired 11 straight batters until Gordon singled up the middle with one out in the sixth.
Davies, who came in with an ERA of 7.98, also settled down after getting roughed up the first two innings.
Careless baserunning cost both teams. Aviles was thrown out trying to go from first to third on a fielding error and late throw to first. Andino was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Markakis’ RBI single.
NOTES: Francoeur has three home runs in his last five home games. … Royals are increasing the number of public address announcements telling fans to be wary. A 64-year-old woman was struck in the face by a shattered bat on opening day and a 4-year-old girl was hurt last week by a foul ball. … Davies lowered his ERA to 7.32. … Johnson had to get a new glove after Matt Treanor’s(notes) grounder went for a 1-6-3 out in the eighth. … Baltimore’s Mark Reynolds(notes) was 3 for 3 with a walk.