C.J. Cron homers twice, but Rays dominated by Orioles for 3rd straight game
BALTIMORE (AP) -- In what might have been his final game with the Orioles, Adam Jones showed precisely why he would be a valuable asset to a team looking to make a playoff run.
Jones had three hits, drove in a run, stole a base and craftily broke up a double play to help Baltimore beat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-5 on Sunday.
The rebuilding Orioles are looking to deal Jones before Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline. Now in his 11th year with Baltimore, the 31-year-old center fielder becomes a free agent after the season.
After the game, Baltimore traded reliever Brad Brach, whose contract expires after the season. Jones, at least for now, remains an Oriole.
Jones is on a tear, batting .417 during a nine-game hitting streak that has occurred while trade rumors have been swirling around the Baltimore clubhouse.
"I come out here every day ready to play the game," Jones said.
Sometimes, the things he does don't show up in the box score. After drawing a first-inning walk, Jones slid hard into second base, bowling over Daniel Robertson to break up a double play.
"That's something that sets up a great tone emotionally and morale-wise, to make a great baseball play like that," manager Buck Showalter said.
The Orioles scored three runs in the inning and never let up.
While Jones has been playing exceptionally of late, any potential swap can be nixed if he evokes his no-trade clause. For that reason, he just might be in Baltimore for the remainder of the season.
"He would have to consent to any assignment, so you should talk to Adam about that," said Dan Duquette, the team's vice president of baseball operations. "As far as the club's concerned, we would expect that Adam would be with us after the trade deadline."
And next year?
"I don't know whether Adam will be here or not," Duquette said, "but the club is going in the direction of younger ballplayers, I can tell you that."
If Jones does go, Rays manager Kevin Cash can only hope it's to a team that doesn't compete in the AL East.
"He does things defensively, he does things offensively. He plays the game hard," Cash said. "That slide, that's how the game is supposed to be played."
Chris Davis hit a pair of two-run homers , and Austin Wynns and Jonathan Schoop also connected for the Orioles.
Baltimore took three of four from the Rays to improve to 8-24-3 in series play.
Dylan Bundy (7-9) allowed three runs and four hits over seven innings. He was pitching on three days' rest after logging only two innings in a rainout Wednesday against Boston.
C.J. Cron hit a pair of solo homers, and Jake Bauers also went deep for Tampa Bay, which began rebuilding by unloading three pitchers last week.
"We're learning a lot as we go," Cash said. "There's been no complaints. I know we're doing some unique things where a staff can go through a funk, and it seems like we all caught that funk here for a few days."
After losing 15-5 on Friday and 11-2 on Saturday, the Rays fell behind 3-0 in the first inning and never caught up. The big blow was delivered by Davis, whose drive to the center-field wall off Yonny Chirinos (0-3) was initially gloved by a leaping Mallex Smith. But the ball popped out of his mitt and over the wall.
"Came close to making a web gem. Didn't work," Smith said.
Rays: Robertson left with a bruised ankle, courtesy of Jones' slide, but X-rays were negative. ... OF Kevin Kiermaier was given the day off as means of freshening up. "I'll take it for my body and be back there Tuesday," he said.
Orioles: OF Craig Gentry (left rib fracture) won't begin his rehab assignment on Monday after all. "We want to be diligent and be sure it's healed before we go there," manager Buck Showalter said. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (oblique) is slated to begin his rehab assignment Wednesday with Class A Frederick.
Both teams in this series traded established veterans for minor league prospects as part of a long-range rebuild.
"That's the world we live in here for the Rays," Kiermaier said. "The lower level guys, that's for the super future. It will be interesting to see who will be around for years to come."
Rays: After a day off Monday, Tampa Bay opens a three-game series at home against the Los Angeles Angels. "It's good to have an off day and get these (butt) whippings out of our head," Smith said.
Orioles: Off on Monday, Baltimore begins a nine-game road trip Tuesday night by sending rookie Yefry Ramirez (1-3, 3.49 ERA) to the mound against the Yankees.