Adam Jones first since 2005 with five RBI, two steals in a game

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It’s a very rare combination and one that was very profitable for those fortunate enough to own him in fantasy leagues; Adam Jones knocked in five runs and stole two bases Saturday in Baltimore’s 8-4 win over Oakland.

Jones had a three-run homer off Jason Hammel in the first inning and then a two-run single in the fourth. Both times, he drove in Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce, the two guys hitting ahead of him in the Baltimore lineup. Those two reached base safely eight tiems in all.

Jones’ steals came after the single in the fourth and after he reached on a fielder’s choice in the seventh. It was just the third two-steal game of his career; he entered with a total of four steals this season.

That made Jones the first player since the Pirates’ Matt Lawton in 2005 to amass five RBI and two steals in the same game. Lawton did it in a 16-2 win over the Diamondbacks. Carlos Guillen is the other player to accomplish it since 2000, driving in six (without the benefit of a homer) and stealing two bases for the Tigers in an 11-10 defeat of the Mariners in 2004.

In all, 23 players since 1914 have had five RBI and two steals in a game. Rogers Hornsby, Mickey Mantle, Mickey Cochrane and Gary Sheffield are some other famous names to pull it off. Oddly enough, Dante Bichette did it twice two years apart for the Rockies. Both games were against San Diego: a 12-7 win on June 27, 1994 and an 8-5 victory on July 11, 1996.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.