has been hitting the ball solidly all season, as evidenced by his impressive .363 batting average.
As if that isn't enough, Baltimore's rapidly improving center fielder has added a jolt of power to his swing.
Jones slammed two home runs for the first time in his career and drove in four runs Tuesday night to lead the Orioles to a
7-5 victory over the
Tampa Bay Rays
Jones hit a solo shot in the first inning and a three-run drive in the second. Both homers - his seventh and eighth of the
season - came off
(1-4), who had allowed only one home run in 32 2-3 innings this season.
''The first one was a good pitch by him. I've seen it on video. It was a good pitch and I went down and got it,'' Jones said.
''The other one was 3-1 right down the middle. I'm just not missing them as often. I'm putting them in play and I'm putting
them in play with authority.''
Now in his second full year in the majors, Jones totaled 17 homers in his first 233 games before hitting three in his last
''I got a bat in my hand. I'm not going to go up there swinging gingerly,'' he said. ''I got three strikes and I'm just trying
to make the best of it up there.''
Baltimore trailed 5-1 in the second inning before rallying for its fourth win in six games. The Orioles are 4-2 against the
defending AL champions after losing the season series 15-3 last year.
(2-1) pitched four scoreless innings of relief and
, the fifth Baltimore pitcher, worked the ninth for his sixth save. Sherrill was in danger of losing his job after blowing
two save opportunities in the span of a week, but the left-hander appears to have righted himself after working with pitching
coach Rick Kranitz.
''George looked a lot more determined the last couple times he's pitched,'' manager Dave Trembley said.
Said Sherrill: ''You don't want to have your job threatened. I just wanted to see what the problem was. I think working with
Kranny, the adjustments he's made are really starting to pay off.
Despite the loss, the Rays reached two milestones.
drove in two runs to pass
for the franchise lead in career RBIs, and Tampa Bay extended its club-record streak of games with at least one stolen base
The Rays batted around against
in a five-run second, the key hits a two-run double by Crawford and an RBI single by
The Orioles answered with five runs in the bottom half to take a 6-5 lead. The uprising included an RBI double by
and was capped by Jones' second homer of the night.
In the Baltimore third, Huff led off with a double and scored on a single by
before Montanez chased Sonnanstine with a single.
''It was the most frustrating start I ever had,'' Sonnanstine said. ''It's a lot of bad luck, I think. I felt good physically.
I felt my pitches were good. It just wasn't my night. I feel like they got my number.''
Neither team got a runner in scoring position again until the sixth, when Jones dropped a fly ball to allow
to reach second with no outs. A one-out single by
put runners at the corners before Bass got
to hit into a double play.
In the seventh, Longoria hit a two-out double off
drew an intentional walk before
''I think they have some really good arms in their bullpen,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ''When they just jumped back on
us, that really put the momentum back on the other side of the fence. But our guys had some good at-bats to the very end.''
Notes: Orioles LF
left in the fourth inning with stomach discomfort. ... Maddon, a native of Hazleton, Pa., was honored Tuesday at the Pennsylvania
State Capitol in Harrisburg on the same day lawmakers donned Phillies caps to honor the late broadcaster Harry Kalas. ...
The Orioles lost the other six games in which they allowed at least four runs in an inning.