BALTIMORE – The biggest slugger in Tuesday’s game wasn’t Nelson Cruz. Oh sure, Cruz hit a three-run home run in his first game back in Baltimore, but Jimmy Paredes, who was befriended by the current star of the Seattle Mariners was the bigger hitter.
Paredes had a career-high four RBIs with his sixth home run and a two-run double as the Orioles beat the Mariners 9-4 before 19,494 at Oriole Park.
He now has 22 RBIs, second to Adam Jones, who has 25.
Last season, Cruz translated for Paredes, but now he can speak for himself. Paredes is batting .346, and he still admires Cruz.
“That feels great because he’s a big man right there. A lot of fans root for something big from him, and we changed the game. We changed the mind of the fans,” Paredes said.
Paredes has nine multi-hit games in 25 played.
“Jimmy's such a sincere guy. Those guys give themselves such a chance to be successful because he never gives in in the effort department,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He's in every pitch. I know down deep he'd like to be playing a position right now, but it fits well for us what he's doing.”
When spring training started, it was hardly a sure thing that Paredes would make the team.
“I think he likes it here and he knows we like what he brings,” Showalter said.
Seth Smith began the game with a home run to right off Miguel Gonzalez. In the bottom of the first, Manny Machado led off with a walk and stole second. With one out, Jones hit a long drive to left that appeared to be a home run, but Smith snatched it back in the park. Chris Davis walked, and Steve Pearce singled off Taijuan Walker to tie the score.
Chris Taylor led the third off with a single, and with two outs, Robinson Cano singled, and Cruz hit his 16th home run of the year into the Orioles bullpen to give Seattle (17-21) a 4-1 lead.
Cruz went 2-for-3 with a walk.
“I guess, it was just another game,” Cruz said. “Maybe the first at-bat was the one that kind of hits you. After that, you just got to go about your business.”
Travis Snider led off the fourth with a walk. J.J. Hardy and Alejandro De Aza singled to load the bases. Snider scored on Caleb Joseph’s single, and after Machado hit into a 1-2-3 double play, Paredes dribbled an opposite-field single to left to tie the score at four.
De Aza led off the sixth with a double off Danny Farquhar (0-2). It was his third hit, his first three-hit game of the season. Joseph doubled to score him, giving the 8-9 hitters five hits in seven at-bats. With one out, Paredes homered to left, his sixth of the season, and the Orioles led 7-4.
“Anytime you can present some challenges all the way through the order, you're trying to make them work for every out they get,” Showalter said. “It makes pitchers work and pitch counts get up a little.”
Gonzalez (5-2) pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on five hits. After Cruz’s home run, he gave up one hit and a walk in his final 4 1/3 innings.
“First couple innings, I just didn’t really have it. After that I settled down and started making pitches when I needed to. Really just two bad pitches and a couple walks that hurt me. Other than that we did a pretty good job,” Gonzalez said.
Joseph was impressed with Gonzalez.
“I was telling him today even if we lose, I’ll take that outing. He was able to shut the door when he needed to. He’s got a knack for staying out of trouble. He finds a way to sit there and make pitches when he needs to and keep the team in the game,” Joseph said.
The Orioles (17-19) scored their eighth run in the seventh when Pearce led off with a single. Snider singled to right, but Cruz muffed the ball, and Pearce scored.
Machado singled in the eighth, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch by Mark Lowe and scored on a passed ball by Mike Zunino.
NOTES: Parades has a 20-game on-base streak, equaling Machado for the team high. Machado has a career-high seven steals. His error on Saturday night was reversed by Major League Baseball. Los Angeles’ Matt Joyce was awarded a base hit, and Machado now has eight errors. … Roenis Elias (0-1, 3.24) faces Wei-Yin Chen (1-2, 2.53) on Wednesday night. … Chris Tillman pitches Thursday. Ubaldo Jimenez and Mike Wright start the first two games in Miami. … Davis is in a 1-for-21 slump. … The Orioles are 25-3 in games Joseph has an RBI.
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