video thumbnail

OAK@BAL: Hardy hammers his fifth homer of the season

BALTIMORE -- Chris Jakubauskas had not started a Major League game in 409 days.

That's 409 days to think about his last start when he was struck in the head by a Lance Berkman line drive while starting for the Pirates. It was a blast that gave the undrafted right-hander a concussion and head contusion.

But when the wait for Jakubauskas finally ended Tuesday night against the A's, he got hit again in the fifth inning of a 4-0 Orioles win.

"It hurt pretty good right off the bat," Jakubauskas said. "I threw it, he hit it, I was like, 'Let it miss me,' but it didn't. As [manager] Buck [Showalter] said on the mound, probably better than the last place I got hit, so I'll take that."

Luckily for Jakubauskas, the liner from Oakland shortstop Cliff Pennington hit him in the left ankle. After team trainers determined the 32-year-old could stay in the game, Jakubauskas got second baseman Jemile Weeks to ground out, ending the fifth frame and his first start since April 24, 2010.

"That's the second time I've taken one off the leg this year," Jakubauskas said. "I took one off the leg in Norfolk. As long as it's not in the head. It is what it is. If it's my time to get again, it's my time to get hit. There were some choice words that went through my mind after it happened, but I try to keep those as quiet as I could. It was more of just, 'I can't believe this. Really? Again I get hit?'"

The Orioles, who do not need a fifth man in their rotation until June 19, used Jakubauskas in a spot-start situation Tuesday to give their four starters a rest.

Showalter said that Jakubauskas wanted to stay in after the fifth frame, but the O's skipper was only going to keep him in for 10 to 15 more pitches, regardless of being hit.

While the A's were able to literally hit Jakubauskas, they had a hard time getting hits off him.

Through five innings, the O's offseason free-agent acquisition allowed just three hits and no runs, while striking out five to garner his first win of the season.

"He was outstanding," shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "Shutting them down, getting ahead of hitters, mixing it up. And then we had the bullpen come in and they shut them down. Anytime you look up there and see a zero from the other team, it's a good job from our pitchers."

Ultimately, the O's staff gave up just five hits against a struggling A's squad, which has lost eight straight. It was Baltimore's first shutout since May 14 at Tampa Bay.

"We had nothing to show for it," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "We didn't necessarily hit the ball extremely well, but when we did, it was definitely right at somebody. We didn't string anything together at all."

But it wasn't just a landmark evening for Jakubauskas and the defense.

Luke Scott, who has been bothered by a tear in his right shoulder, had a breakout game. The outfielder went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the fifth and double in the seventh.

"It was good to see him [Scott] smile, feel good about himself," Showalter said. "Luke's always a pleasant, upbeat guy, but you know it's kind of been wearing on him, some of the challenges he's been facing this year. He never complained. It's just not in Luke's makeup. He just keeps doing what he can do to be available. I think everybody on the club took a little happiness in Luke having a good game."

Scott's homer, which traveled 418 feet to left, was his sixth home run to hit Eutaw Street just beyond the right-field seats -- the most hit by one player.

Scott, who has a torn labrum in his right shoulder, received a cortisone shot in that shoulder Sunday and said he felt the medicine take affect Tuesday. However, his performance against the A's meant more than just numbers on a stat sheet.

"It felt great," Scott said. "This season has been a struggle for me personally and I've been battling a couple tough injuries and just trying to make the best out of a difficult situation. It feels good to get some results."

Scott provided the Orioles with one of three solo shots Tuesday, the first of which came from Hardy in his first time hitting in the leadoff spot. On the second pitch of the bottom of the first, Hardy connected on a fastball from Oakland starter Guillermo Moscoso.

The drive would set the tone for a Baltimore offense that scored at least a run on the A's first three pitchers.

"D-Lee [Derrek Lee] was yelling at me before I went up there to swing at the first pitch," Hardy said. "And I took it. It was a fastball middle in. But I took it."

Baltimore has won three of its last four games and has taken a series against Oakland for the first time in eight tries dating back to 2007. Comments