NEW YORK – Adam Jones never wants to come out of games. Never. And he never wants to be out of the lineup when the Orioles are struggling.
On Monday, Buck Showalter saw something he didn’t like, and removed Jones in the bottom of the eighth inning with right shoulder soreness.
Jones missed eight games in June with a right shoulder injury, and has dealt with a sprained left ankle and tests for concussion-like symptoms in a most difficult year.
With their All-Star center fielder out of the game, the Orioles lost to the New York Yankees 8-6 before 31,039 at Yankee Stadium.
It was their 15th loss in 18 games, and they’ve now dropped into a tie for last place with Boston.
The Orioles (65-72) are seven games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season.
“I always want to be out there for our players no matter what. if we are going good, going bad it doesn’t matter. I want to always be the guy, the leader on the field. If I'm in the dugout or not playing, I don't feel as if I’m the leader. When I'm out there playing, all the guys they seem to follow suit,” Jones said.
For a guy who hates to come out, 2015 hasn’t been easy.
“It’s been different. Hit 30. Lot of people say when you hit 30 a lot of things change. It’s what happens when you play 150-plus games. Bound to have something down there happen. Run into walls, dive. play the game hard, play it the right way. Body just takes the brunt of it,” Jones said.
Jones says he’ll be playing on Tuesday night. The Orioles, who have now lost nine straight series openers at Yankee Stadium, dating back to the beginning of the 2013 season, get J.J. Hardy back from the disabled list.
Wei-Yin Chen continued to pitch poorly. In his last two starts, he’s allowed 10 runs on 18 hits in 9 2/3 innings. He couldn’t hold a 4-1 lead against New York (77-59).
“I was really expecting a little more. He had six days [rest]. We tried to freshen him up. You’ve all seen with what we’ve done with the starting pitching all year. It’s more of a mental, emotional fatigue people have this time of year,” Showalter said.
Chen took a 4-2 lead into the fifth inning and coughed it up. Alex Rodriguez homered to lead off, his 29th, and the 682nd of his career. With two outs, Chen walked Greg Bird and John Ryan Murphy homered to right field, a two-run shot, and the Orioles were behind 5-4.
Manny Machado’s 27th home run off Justin Wilson (5-0) tied it at 5 in the seventh.
By then, Chen was long gone.
“I think I probably wasn’t in my best shape during the past few starts and when you’re getting into a slump you tend to be over-thinking about stuff and trying to not let anyone hit your pitches. I think that’s kind of a vicious circle there,” Chen said through his translator.
The Orioles haven’t gotten deep starts recently. Not since Kevin Gausman, who worked 6 2/3 on Aug. 28, has a starter even completed six.
“I think every starter, we all want to go deep in the game. But for now I think I can only think about my situation. I can’t think about other people. I think that’s the same for every other starting pitcher,” Chen said.
The Orioles scored four runs off Michael Pineda in the second. Chris Davis led off with a walk. Jimmy Paredes singled, and on an 0-2 pitch, Jonathan Schoop hit his 12th home run of the year for a 3-1 lead.
Machado drove in Nolan Reimold with the fourth run, but Ryan Flaherty was thrown out at the plate.
Jorge Rondon (0-1) pitched a scoreless sixth, but walked Carlos Beltran and after Chris Young singled, Greg Bird hit an 0-2 pitch from Brian Matusz into the Yankees bullpen, and New York (77-59) had an 8-5 lead.
In the eighth, Dellin Betances walked the bases loaded with two outs and struck out Joseph, who slammed his bat and snapped it over his leg in frustration.
“I like that. It shows you are human,” Jones said. “We are not going to go out there and make it look like we are pouting. That’s not the makeup of this team. But I like to see it. It’s a situation where you know he wants to come through.”
Davis’ RBI single off Andrew Miller in the ninth made it 8-6.
NOTES: The Orioles optioned RHP Oliver Drake and outfielder Junior Lake to Norfolk. … LHP Cesar Cabral was outrighted to Norfolk. … Kevin Gausman (2-6, 4.59) faces Masahiro Tanaka (11-6, 3.73) on Tuesday night.
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