BALTIMORE -- The task was simple for Adam Jones: move down in the lineup, and zone in on a pitch to hit.So far, so good. Jones entered Thursday on a career-best 12-game hit streak, a stretch in which he was 14-for-45 (.311) with a pair of doubles, one triple, two home runs, six runs scored and seven driven in. It's the longest such streak of the season by any Oriole. "I think what's helped him is that he's not swinging at so many bad pitches," manager Dave Trembley said. "When I had him hitting [first], he felt like he had to swing from his butt trying to hit it out of the ballpark. He was chasing a lot of bad pitches. I think batting him down in the lineup has helped him. He's gotten better." Jones often flailed uncontrollably at breaking balls off the outer half. His average dipped to .202 on April 28. Since then, Jones' spot lower in the batting order has contributed to a lighter sense of pressure, and a much better average. From that date through Wednesday, Jones was hitting .306 (30-for-98).
On Thursday, Jones extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games, with a lined single right past Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez with one out in the second. He finished 2-for-5 with two singles, getting stranded on both occasions.
Scott out of lineup in series finale
BALTIMORE -- Luke Scott was out of the lineup again Thursday, taking another day to rest his ailing left shoulder.The Orioles slugger missed the first two games of the Oakland series with a strain in his shoulder, and plans to return to the lineup Friday when the Orioles open a series at Toronto. "I think tomorrow should be a go," Scott said after taking batting practice Thursday afternoon. Scott took 25 swings off a tee in the batting tunnel behind the Orioles dugout before taking three rounds of swings on the field. It was his first time taking batting practice in two days, and he was able to get around on pitches for the first time all week. "No problems, no pain or discomfort," Scott said. "It was good. I didn't necessarily go all-out, 100 percent, but I went nice and easy with it. It was a good start. No pain. I was able to pull the ball." Scott was not immediately sure of his availability to pinch-hit Thursday, saying it was up to manager Dave Trembley and the Orioles training staff.
Patterson looks renewed in return to O's
BALTIMORE -- Corey Patterson looks refreshed in his return to Baltimore, using a patient offensive mindset and a new lease on his baseball life to earn a starting role -- less than two months after the 30-year-old outfielder couldn't find a job."He was out of the game," manager Dave Trembley said. "He was done. He couldn't get a job. He's earned it. He worked hard, he came back. You have to pull for him, you know?" Like a devout fan, Trembley recalled a trivia note on Patterson before Thursday's series finale with Oakland: The compact left-handed hitter was the leadoff man in the very first All-Star Futures Game. Trembley was Patterson's coach in an instructional league with the Cubs organization. "When we had him with the Cubs, he was a little guy, and everybody always wanted him to be a No. 3 hitter and hit balls out of the ballpark. He would readily admit to you, he never really learned the strike zone, never learned how to bunt, and never learned how to hit the ball the other way. He really lost seven or eight years off his career, because he was trying to be something that somebody else wanted him to be," Trembley said. "I told him yesterday, 'Hey, be yourself. If the [opposing pitcher makes] a mistake, you can hit it out of the ballpark.'" Patterson, who hit leadoff and played left field on Thursday, entered the final game of the three-game series batting .291 with two homers and five RBIs. Becoming a more patient hitter has enabled him to stay atop the lineup, where he never looked quite comfortable in his previous swing-for-the-fences mindset.
Patterson struggled Thursday, though, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, looking lost in almost every at-bat.It's likely he'll make one step closer to that No. 3 hole in the coming weeks -- sliding down to the No. 2 slot in the order when regular leadoff man Brian Roberts returns from the 60-day disabled list.
Stork comes calling in O's nest
BALTIMORE -- At the plate and in the field, Nick Markakis has been one of the few Orioles consistently delivering in 2010.Thursday, it was Christina Markakis' turn to deliver. The wife of the Orioles' right fielder, expecting the couple's second child, was induced into labor Thursday morning at a Baltimore-area hospital. Christina Markakis gave birth to the family's second boy, Tucker Edward, at 8:21 p.m. He weighted 7 pounds, 1 ounce. "I wish them well, and congratulations to the Markakis family," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He'll join us tomorrow in Toronto." Markakis was replaced in right field in Thursday's lineup by Lou Montanez. It was the first game Markakis has missed since Sept. 22, 2009, and just the 22nd outing he's missed in his career. Since '07, Markakis has missed just seven scheduled games.
Sean Welsh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.