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Jones breaking out of early slump

Jones breaking out of early slump

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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.

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