Orioles blast four homers to beat Cardinals
BALTIMORE -- Ubaldo Jimenez was happy to be back in a starting role, and he was even happier the Baltimore Orioles used their big bats to support him.
Jimenez threw seven solid innings in his return to the rotation and the Orioles clubbed four home runs in an 8-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.
Making his first start since May 22 after being demoted to the bullpen, Jimenez (2-2) kept the Cardinals’ lineup in check. Over the course of a 106-pitch performance in sweltering heat and humidity, he allowed a pair of earned runs on four hits to earn his first victory since April 19. He struck out three and walked four.
“He was good,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I can’t tell you how few pitchers in baseball would have pitched seven innings in that type of weather. That was pretty remarkable.”
Jimenez, who was knocked out of the starting rotation after going more than a month without winning a game, had made his last four appearances out of the bullpen.
“It felt pretty good,” Jimenez said of being back in the starting rotation. “Like I said, it doesn’t matter how things are going for me. I am just going to fight.”
The right-hander benefited from another power surge by the Orioles’ offense, as Seth Smith, Trey Mancini, Mark Trumbo and Welington Castillo all blasted home runs off of Cardinals starter Lance Lynn.
The Orioles finished the three-game series with 10 home runs, which is the most they have hit in a series this season.
Smith, the leadoff man, put the Orioles (34-34) in front right away by knocking a 3-2 pitch from Lynn over the wall in center. It was the fourth leadoff home run the Orioles have hit this season with Smith responsible for three of them. He now has five leadoff home runs in his career.
Mancini followed with his 12th homer of the season to start the second, and then Trumbo and Castillo belted their as part of a four-run fifth inning that chased Lynn from the game.
Lynn (5-4) allowed seven earned runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. He has not gone beyond 5 1/3 innings in each of his last three starts.
“Some bad pitches,” he said. “Good teams make you pay. Going to come back and try again.”
Mancini extended his hitting streak to a career-long nine games. He notched his first career triple as part of the Orioles’ power surge in the bottom of the fifth.
The Cardinals (31-37) scored all of their runs via the long ball. Stephen Piscotty homered twice with two outs and notched the second multi-homer game of his career, while Dexter Fowler homered in his fourth consecutive game for St. Louis.
Yadier Molina added a solo home run as part of a three-run eighth inning for the Cardinals. It was his eighth of the season, and it came against Orioles reliever Miguel Castro with two outs.
“You feel good with some guys having positive results. Always something the guys can build off of and keep going,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “I think we had a good foundation to start offensively. Hopefully take that into the next series.”
Brad Brach worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 12th save of the season for the Orioles.
NOTES: The Orioles won their 23rd home game of the season, which is the most in the American League. At 23-11 at Camden Yards, they trail only the New York Yankees (22-9) for the best home winning percentage in the AL. ... Orioles SS J.J. Hardy was knocked out of the game in the sixth inning after suffering a right-wrist contusion. He was struck by a pitch on the wrist in the bottom of the fourth. After the game, Orioles manager Buck Showalter described the condition of Hardy’s wrist as being “not good.” following an X-ray. The team will have a more definitive idea on Hardy’s status following a scan Monday morning. ... Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn has now allowed a home run in seven consecutive starts. That’s the most by a Cardinals starter since Matt Morris surrendered homers in 10 straight games in 2004.