On this occasion, they were quite content to get the pivotal run via a walk, an errant pickoff throw and a well-placed fly ball.
Matt Wieters drove in three runs, including the tiebreaker in the eighth inning, and the Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 Tuesday night on a soggy night at Camden Yards.
After blowing a three-run lead, the Orioles went back on top in the eighth. Adam Jones drew a leadoff walk from Tim Collins (1-1) and advanced when Luke Hochevar threw wildly to first base on a pickoff attempt. Wieters then lofted an opposite-field fly to left that appeared to hit the foul line for a double.
”I was hoping,” Wieters said. ”I was leaning it and I was pretty excited when the umpire made the fair signal.”
The Orioles came into the game with 39 home runs, including 17 that gave them the lead and four that tied it. On this night, they found a different way to win.
Besides scoring in unusual fashion in the eighth, Baltimore turned three double plays and got a fielding gem from shortstop J.J. Hardy.
”When you don’t walk people and you catch the baseball the way we did tonight, you give yourself a chance to win those types of games,” manager Buck Showalter said.
The Royals, on the other hand, got a huge home run from Alex Gordon. But they were done in by a walk and an error.
”The leadoff walk is something that’s going to get you in trouble just about every time, especially late in the game,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
Tommy Hunter (2-1) worked 1 1-3 innings of relief and Jim Johnson got three straight outs for his 12th save.
It was the fourth win in five games for the Orioles, who moved within a game of first-place Boston in the AL East.
”This team grinds it out,” Hunter said. ”This team is fun to watch for everybody. Nobody should ever leave the stadium, I’ll tell you that much, under any circumstances.”
Even on a brisk, wet night.
Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen had a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning when rain forced a 48-minute delay. After play resumed, Brian Matusz got an out before yielding a two-run homer to Gordon.
Chen allowed two runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Ervin Santana gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings for Kansas City. The right-hander walked one and struck out four.
”First inning I was always in trouble, but after that I settled down and threw a lot of strikes and blew guys away,” Santana said.
Baltimore went up 3-0 in the first. Singles by Manny Machado, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones produced a run before Wieters hit a two-out, two-run double.
”I missed that one. He hit a mistake,” Santana said.
In the third, former Oriole Miguel Tejada hit a one-out single and scored on a single by Alcides Escobar. In the bottom half, Tejada made a diving stop of Jones’ grounder to third and made a successful throw to first while in a sitting position.
Hardy saved a run with a sparkling dive-and-throw play in the fourth. With two outs and a runner on second, Hardy went to the edge of the outfield grass to snare a grounder by Salvador Perez before throwing to first while on his knees.
Santana regrouped from his shaky start to retire 12 straight batters until Nate McLouth singled with two outs in the fifth. Machado followed with a single before Markakis hit a fly to left.
NOTES: The Orioles will probably move RHP Miguel Gonzalez back from his scheduled Wednesday start because of a blister on his thumb. … Santana’s streak of 13 consecutive scoreless innings ended abruptly in the first. … Baltimore 2B Brian Roberts, who’s been on the DL since April 5 with a right hamstring strain, still isn’t feeling right and will visit Dr. Daniel Cooper in Dallas for a second opinion. ”He just doesn’t feel like it’s moving at the pace he was hoping,” Showalter said. … Royals RHP Luis Mendoza (0-1, 7.00 ERA) vies for his first win of the season on Wednesday. Chris Tillman (2-1, 3.63) will start for the Orioles.