Sunday, July 7, 2013
Inside the at-bat: Jones vs Rivera
By ESPN Stats & Information
The New York Yankees were two outs away from winning their seventh straight game and sweeping the Baltimore Orioles.
But Adam Jones, who has had a penchant for hitting big home runs the last two seasons, hit one of his team's most notable homer in 2013, a two-run game-winner off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
Let's take a closer look at the home run.
The rarity of the home run
The home run marked the sixth time in his career that Rivera allowed a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later with his team winning at the time.
But it’s only the second time that a player hit such a home run in Yankee Stadium. The other was hit by Bengie Molina of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2004.
Rivera had his streak of 41 straight save conversions at Yankee Stadium snapped. That’s an impressive run, though it’s not his longest save-conversion streak at Yankee Stadium.
His longest is tied with Eric Gagne for the longest of all-time, a 51-save streak from 2007 to 2010.
Breaking down the matchup
Jones’ go-ahead HR off Mariano Rivera came on a 93 mph fastball.
It was only the third homer that Rivera has allowed on a pitch of 93 mph or faster over the last five seasons, the first since one by Reed Johnson of the Chicago Cubs on June 18, 2011.
The homer came on an inside pitch, Jones' eighth homer homer this season on a pitch on the inner third of the plate or further inside. Only two AL players have hit more homers on inside pitches: Mark Trumbo (11) and Miguel Cabrera (10).
Right-handed hitters have a .695 OPS against Rivera this season, 168 points higher than what they had against him from 2009 to 2012 (albeit in a much smaller sample).
The other big AB
Right before Jones homered, Nick Markakis reached by singling on an 0-2 pitch.
Rivera tried to freeze Markakis with a fastball on the outside corner of the knees, but got too much plate with it and Markakis whacked it into center field.
Markakis is 7-for-20 (.350 batting average) for his career against Rivera. That's 10th-best among those hitters with at least 15 at-bats against the Yankees' closer (combining regular season and postseason).
Edgar Martinez has the best batting average against Rivera-- .579.
Other notables from the game
There were a couple of other notable things to happen in this game.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda returned from injury and allowed no runs in seven innings.
Kuroda is tied with Clayton Kershaw and Justin Masterson for the major-league lead in starts of seven innings or more with no runs allowed with five.
And Orioles third baseman Manny Machado made one of the strongest throws of the season, from way out on the grass in foul territory to throw out Luis Cruz.
It netted Machado his 10th "Baseball Tonight" Web Gem of the season. That's the most in the major leagues, two ahead of Brandon Phillips and Alcides Escobar.
The Orioles are tied for the major-league lead in Web Gems with the Kansas City Royals with 24.
Did You Know?
Rivera blew a save against the Orioles for the ninth time in his career, the most by any pitcher against Baltimore. But keep in mind that his 76 saves against the Orioles are 40 more than any other pitcher and his most versus any opponent.
Jones is the third Orioles player to hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning or later against the Yankees with his team trailing at the time. The others to do so since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954 are Don Buford (1968) and Brady Anderson (1995).
Jones also leads the majors in go-ahead homers in the ninth inning or later over the last two seasons with five.