"I think tonight was a night that we [were] all waiting for," said Tejada, who had a season-high four hits as the Orioles matched their highwater mark with 17 hits. "We just haven't been hitting the way we are supposed to be hitting, but tonight we all contributed."
For a while, it looked like the five-run third that saw 10 Orioles bat and seven get hits, the team's most in one frame this season, would be both sufficient and the sum total of the offensive damage.
Backup catcher Craig Tatum started the inning with a one-out double to center and consecutive singles by Cesar Izturis, Julio Lugo, Tejada, Nick Markakis and Ty Wigginton turned a 3-0 deficit into a 3-all tie. Luke Scott hit a sacrifice fly to left and Jones followed with an RBI double that chased Marlins left-hander Nate Robertson (5-6).
"[Robertson] was throwing the ball over the plate," explained Jones. "Miggy attacked the first pitch. Lugo, early in the count, attacked a pitch. I swung at a pitch earlier in the count and Wigginton did. When he threw something over the plate, we just got all over it."
Added Tejada: "We have the talent to do that. We really made a great adjustment on their starting pitcher today. He started the game pretty good, but after that, we made an adjustment. We were able to get so many hits and some runs, something that we haven't been doing lately."
Still, the 5-3 cushion almost wasn't enough for Millwood (2-8), who has won consecutive starts after going 0-8 in his first 14 outings of the season. The right-hander willed his way through the fifth inning, stranding the tying run on third in Hanley Ramirez by striking out rookie Mike Stanton, who swung and missed at a 3-2 cutter. Millwood needed 34 of his 116 pitches to escape the fifth. He allowed four runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out three.
"I knew I was close to the end," said Millwood, who acknowledged he was battling with his location the whole night. "I just wanted to get out of that inning and give us a chance. I just threw out what I had left, and it worked. The guys came back and put a few more runs on the board and made it a pretty comfortable win there in the end."
That's what hasn't happened in most of Millwood's starts. Early in the season, Millwood would pitch well and get no offensive support. This time, the Orioles tacked on some runs -- certainly enough to negate a ninth-inning RBI single by Florida's Dan Uggla, who finished with three RBIs -- after Millwood's departure.
"These guys have battled all year," Millwood said. "The numbers haven't been there, but they've done everything they can to put some good numbers on the board. It just hasn't happened, and lately they've given me runs and we've won some games. Hopefully, we can continue that."
The Orioles' fifth win in 21 games since June 1 was cemented when the bats warmed up on a steamy evening after the bullpen took over. Jason Berken worked two scoreless innings, David Hernandez turned in a 1-2-3 eighth and Matt Albers worked the ninth.
"We all say hitting is contagious, and it was one of those nights where everybody was on the ball," Baltimore interim manager Juan Samuel said.
Jones homered with one out in the fifth, a solo shot to left that made it 6-4. Tejada led off the sixth with an infield single to third and came around on Scott's two-out double. Tejada's three-run homer in the seventh -- his first blast since April 30 -- off Mike Houser put the Orioles ahead 10-4. In the eighth, Tatum doubled home Baltimore's final run.
"I didn't know," Tejada chuckled when informed of the length of his power drought. "I'm kind of laughing, because I think it's the first time in my career I [have gone] that far without a home run. I'm not a home run hitter. I just try to get as many base hits that I can. Thank God that I did. I got that out of the way."
The Marlins jumped Millwood early, with two runs in the first and one more in the second. Ramirez drove home Chris Coghlan, then stole second and took third on a sacrifice fly by Jorge Cantu before Uggla's RBI single to center. Gaby Sanchez doubled home Ronny Paulino for a 3-0 Florida lead in the second.
"One of the important things that we saw tonight was the guys coming back after Millwood gave up a couple runs in the first and second," Samuel said. "The string of singles was very important. Guys were bearing down and just taking what the pitcher was giving them."
All of which left Robertson, who was tagged for five runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings, frustrated, but complimentary of the Orioles.
"It's disheartening when you have a sweep on the line, and you have a 3-0 lead against Millwood," Robertson said. "He's had some tough luck this year. Tonight, he had some things go his way a little bit more. It's baseball. We beat the best team in their division [Tampa Bay] five days ago, and the team that is in last place in their division kicks our tail. It's a funny game. That's why I don't like when people say [the Orioles are] terrible. They're just inconsistent."