Jones breaking out of early slump
O's center fielder homers in back-to-back games
BOSTON -- He wasn't worried, but Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was starting to wonder what was going on at the plate.
"I didn't know I had a barrel on my bat, I thought I lost it," Jones said. "I thought I had a handle on the end of the bat, that's the way I was feeling. But the only way you can get yourself out of a slump is to hit yourself out of a slump."
Jones has shown signs of doing that in Baltimore's first two games at Boston. The All-Star cranked his first homer since Opening Day in the seventh inning Friday night, snapping an 0-for-16 drought that dated back to April 18 at Oakland. The 15-game homerless drought was Jones' longest since a 24-game stretch from June 16-July 12 of last season.
"I'm just going there trying to get a good pitch to hit and square it up," said Jones, who followed with another homer in the ninth inning of Saturday's 7-6 loss.
It marked the fourth time he has homered in back-to-back games in his career and helped raise his average to .215. For Jones, the beginning of this season has been marred in inconsistency. He has recorded five multihit games, in which he is 12-for-24 (.500), but in his other 13 games, he is just 5-for-55 (.091) at the plate.
If Jones can regain his footing -- along with Nick Markakis, who is 4-for-8 with two doubles in the series' first two games -- it would go a long way in fixing Baltimore's lineup woes. The team entered Sunday hitting .239, and continue to struggle to drive runners in in scoring position. The O's went 5-for-15 with RISP on Saturday, but their season total of 23-for-135 (.170) is the worst mark in the Majors.
Reimold hits leadoff for first time in career
BOSTON -- For the first time in his career, Nolan Reimold served as the Orioles' leadoff hitter Sunday afternoon against the Red Sox.
"All I got to do is hit ninth now, then I'm all covered," Reimold said, referring to the continuous shuffling of Baltimore's lineup.
Manager Dave Trembley said there was no particular reason for putting Reimold in the leadoff spot, but with Lou Montanez on the bench and Reimold starting in left field, it was an easy switch. In his first at-bat Sunday, Reimold collected an infield single. He finished 2-for-5 with a double and scored a run.
While Reimold has been hampered following offseason surgery on his left Achilles tendon, he did steal a base this spring and said he wouldn't have a problem swiping another if he got the sign.
"I'll take the approach a leadoff guy is supposed to have," Reimold said. "Get up there and try to have a good at-bat, work the count a little bit, set the tone for getting on base for the guys hitting behind you."
A naturally patient hitter, Reimold has struggled to get his bat going in the first month of the season. He entered Sunday's game hitting .159 and is hitless with three walks in the first two games of the Red Sox series.
"I think today against [ knuckleballer Tim] Wakefield it's a little bit challenging [to be patient]," Trembley said. "But he does have a good eye and he'll hit with two strikes, and it sure would be nice to get him on track."
Wieters doesn't start, but plays key role
BOSTON -- Catcher Matt Wieters wasn't in Sunday's starting lineup for just the second time in the Orioles' first 19 games.
"[I'm] on track for 142 [games]," Wieters said with the smile as he went out to take pregame batting practice.
Manager Dave Trembley said he told Wieters before the three-game set with Boston that he wasn't going to play on Sunday, a move that would have afforded the catcher a pair of rest days with Monday's off-day.
"He hasn't shown any signs early of wear and tear," Trembley said prior to Sunday's game. "I asked him how he was doing, and he said well if this was July or August, this would probably affect him, but right now, he feels real strong. I think he has been a real solid consistent player for us in all areas."
In his place backup catcher Craig Tatum got Sunday's start, but Wieters still managed to don the shin guards. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Tatum in the eighth and spent the last three innings of Sundays extra-inning win behind the plate. Wieters provided a key two-run single in the top of the 10th that helped the Orioles hang on for a 7-6 win over the Red Sox.
Just 23, Wieters made a conscious effort to get in superior shape this offseason to help him withstand the grind of catching his first full Major League season. He has an eight-game hitting streak and entered Sunday tied in the American League with eight multihit games. Wieters is batting .324 with a team-leading 22 hits.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.