05/31/12 1:07 AM ET
Jones' streak ends in O's loss to Blue Jays
Center fielder had hit in 20 consecutive games before 0-for-2 night
By Chris Toman / MLB.com
The center fielder went 0-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a 95-mph fastball by Brandon Morrow, but he said he is fine and will be ready for Friday's contest against the Rays.
Jones' hit streak was the longest by an Orioles player since Brian Roberts hit in 20 straight in 2005, and it matched the longest in the Majors this season.
Jones, 26, is having a career year and this week was rewarded for his strong play with six-year, $85.5 million contract extension. But he has been quick to credit his teammates and the strong play of the club.
"We are," said Jones, when asked if the Orioles are ready to compete for years. "The core is young, 25, 26. We are relatively young. We have some prospects in the wings coming up. We have a good core and a good system here. A lot of guys want to win. We just have to continue [being] us, not worrying about everybody else."
The Orioles, despite being swept by the Blue Jays, are tied for first place with the Rays, and they have been led by Jones' bat. Entering Thursday, every team in the ultra-competitive American League East was playing above .500.
"This division is tough, everybody is playing good baseball," Jones said. "We need to play good in our division, that's most important."
Jones is batting .314 with 16 home runs, 34 RBIs, eight stolen bases and a .983 OPS. After tearing the cover off the ball in April, he did the same thing in May. His batting line is almost identical over the two months, and if he can keep it up for June, he should be well on his way to a second All-Star selection.
He already has three hitting streaks of at least 10 games this season and has reached base in 48 of his 51 games. He is the first Orioles player to have three 10-game hitting streaks in the the first 40 games since Roberts did in 2005.
Willie Keeler's 45-game hit streak -- from Sept. 26, 1896 to June 18, 1897 -- is the longest in franchise history.
Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.