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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2013
Jim Johnson's impressive regular season saves streak came to an end at 35 on Tuesday night when he allowed four singles and two runs in the ninth in the Orioles' 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres . Johnson hadn't blown a regular season save since he gave up six runs in one third of an inning to the Oakland A's on July 27, 2012. He did blow one in the postseason - Game 3 of the ALDS in New York on Oct. 10 - but that didn't count toward the streak. Point is Johnson has been unbelievably good for the last year-plus, and so when he blows one it is newsworthy.
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By Peter Schmuck | July 28, 2014
Ravens fans showed support for running back Ray Rice when he took the field for Monday night's open workout at M&T Bank Stadium, but they seemed to recognize that an outsized ovation would not be appropriate in the wake of the domestic assault incident that led to a two-game NFL suspension. Rice got applause from segments of the crowd as he moved past several sections of the stands after entering the playing field, then got a bigger, general ovation when he was shown for the first time on the video board.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | July 6, 2013
     Jim Johnson's sixth blown save - which ties him with setup man James Russell of the Chicago Cubs for the major league lead - on Friday night in the Bronx was particularly painful to watch.     That's partially because Johnson did much of the damage to himself. He made a costly error on a routine sacrifice bunt. And he issued a four-pitch walk that tied the game.      Johnson was beating himself up after the game for the error. And that's typical Johnson. But, frankly, errors happen.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | June 8, 2014
The bartender is gone for the weekend. Dan Connolly's out of town, so I'm taking over. I've been waiting for this for a while. Happy hour will be a little longer. Margaritas are two-for-one. Oh, and half-price apps at the bar. We have something to discuss. And I know you'll have an opinion. Former Orioles closer Jim Johnson made his first appearance at Camden Yards in an opposing uniform Saturday night, entering a three-run game in the sixth inning. There was no “Cue the Foo,” only a familiar face in green and gold.
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By Dan Connolly | July 28, 2012
Orioles fans have been spoiled by just how good closer Jim Johnson has been in 2012. He had blown two of his 32 save chances heading into Friday night. He has been nearly as automatic as a closer can be. But on Friday he simply didn't have sharp command, and the Oakland A's singled him to death - five singles and a walk after getting the first out on an excellent play by first baseman Mark Reynolds. “I fell behind and a couple balls got through,” Johnson said. “It just kind of happened.
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By Daniel Gallen and The Baltimore Sun | July 1, 2013
While Chris Davis crushed his way through an Orioles record earlier Friday night with his 31st home run of the season, closer Jim Johnson achieved his own milestone about 90 minutes later in the Orioles' 4-2 win over the New York Yankees. When Johnson got Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner to ground out to second baseman Alexi Casilla, who flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop J.J. Hardy to force catcher Chris Stewart out at second base, it closed the door on Johnson's 28th save of the season -- and his 100th of his career.
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The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2012
Closer Jim Johnson has been named the Orioles' nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a player "who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. " Beginning today, fans can vote for the national Clemente award recipient at MLB.com/ClementeAward and register for a chance to win a trip to the World Series. The award is named for the Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.  “I don't really do things for name recognition,” said Johnson, who will be recognized as the club's award recipient at a ceremony Monday at Camden Yards.
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Peter Schmuck | October 4, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas - Jim Johnson is on the move. The new owner of the Orioles' record for saves in a season passes through the clubhouse with obvious intent, his eyes finding no others as he heads from one room to the next and - no doubt - some team-oriented task. Apparently, a closer's work is never done. It might be studying hitters on video or discussing some internal matter with manager Buck Showalter or maybe just doling out some fantasy football advice to one of his teammates.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2012
If you are looking for a little good Orioles' news, here you go. Closer Jim Johnson, who had been dealing with back issues, pitched in consecutive games for the first time this spring and looked pretty good. In fact, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said it is the best he has looked this month. Johnson walked a batter, struck out one and got two groundouts. He threw 19 pitches, 10 for strikes, and his fastball was clocked at 94, 95 mph. “There was some unknown, he went through a little bit of an offseason that he has never done before,” Showalter said.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2014
Like much of Baltimore, the Orioles organization has watched with interest as former closer Jim Johnson has struggled this early season with the Oakland Athletics. Interest probably isn't the right word. Try empathy. “Everybody's been there. Everybody's had a time where they're not pitching up to their potential,” said Orioles' set-up man Darren O'Day, who was one of Johnson's closer friends on the club. “I've been there. Tommy [Hunter] has been there. When I was with the [Texas]
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By Alejandro Zuniga and Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2014
After being traded in December because the Orioles didn't want to spend an estimated $10 million in arbitration on a closer, Jim Johnson returned to Camden Yards on Friday wearing the green and gold of the Oakland Athletics. “It's a little different. I mean, a lot of memories,” said Johnson, who was drafted by the Orioles in 2001, made his big league debut in 2006 and was a key member of the bullpen since 2008. “It's obviously different going into a different clubhouse. It's cool.” Johnson came back Friday not as the A's closer but as a struggling reliever who lost his closer role after blowing one save, losing two games and allowing seven runs over his first five outings.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | May 15, 2014
The Orioles are in the exact same place they were when their current four-game losing streak began - atop the American League East standings. As the Orioles open their four-game series in Kansas City tonight, they will still hold a half-game lead over the Red Sox and Yankees. The top four teams in the division are separated by 1 ½ games. Last-place Tampa Bay is just 3 ½ back. That's what makes every series so critical in the AL East. The Orioles' current skid would have been much more painful has it not been for their season-high five-game winning streak last week.
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By Jon Meoli, The Baltimore Sun | May 5, 2014
Before long, whether through a rising price tag or poor performance, a baseball team will eventually move to its next closer. The former is how Tommy Hunter replaced Jim Johnson at the back of the Orioles bullpen this year, but not before Johnson saved at least 50 games in back-to-back seasons and established himself in the ninth-inning role. Hunter knows it will take longer than a successful - and tense - month to earn the "proven closer" tag. And he knows that the first step in being a good closer is realizing that there's no such thing as a perfect one. "I think you can do better," Hunter said Thursday of his first month on the job. "I think it's a situation where you know you have a job to do, and I think you've got to just do it and throw.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | April 26, 2014
Infielder Jemile Weeks was called up from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday to provide extra infield help until the Orioles determine the seriousness of Chris Davis' left oblique strain. The move was expected once Davis' injury was made public. The Orioles optioned left-hander T.J. McFarland after Friday night's game to create a roster spot. Weeks, 27, was acquired by the Orioles in December in the trade that sent closer Jim Johnson to the Oakland Athletics. Weeks was one of the last cuts in spring training and then batted .296 with a .451 on-base percentage in 17 games at Triple-A Norfolk.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2014
The last time Grant Balfour was in Baltimore, he thought he had landed in the place where he'd spend the next two years of his career. In December, Balfour arrived at the Warehouse to take a club physical that he believed would be the last step in finalizing a two-year, $15 million deal to replace Jim Johnson as Orioles closer. But instead of being introduced as the Orioles' new closer as he had expected, Balfour left town frustrated after being told that team doctors found something in the physical that they did not like.
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By Peter Schmuck and The Baltimore Sun | April 13, 2014
The Orioles have only scored two runs in 21 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, but Saturday night's 2-1 victory at Camden Yards had the heady feel of one of those extra-inning wins that made 2012 such a magical year. And the Orioles still have a chance to win the series if they can muster some offense against Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle today. David Lough eventually delivered a game-winning single off Toronto reliever Todd Redmond after Steve Lombardozzi hit a long triple to center field with one out in the 12th inning.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | May 11, 2013
Closer Jim Johnson set another Orioles franchise record Friday, converting his 35th consecutive save in the regular season (14 this year, most in the American League). That dates back to July 27th last year against Oakland. That's a pretty impressive streak, eclipsing Randy Myers one of 34 straight saves in 1997. Johnson kicked Myers out of the club record book last year as well when he set a single-season franchise record with 51 saves in 2012. You can make the argument that Johnson's stability at the back of the bullpen may be the biggest key to the Orioles' run the past year-plus.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | June 27, 2013
Closer Jim Johnson was booed when he walked off the mound Wednesday after blowing his fifth save of the season. My Twitter feed blew up after that, too, with Johnson haters. One even suggested that Tommy Hunter replace Johnson as closer. Hunter, you remember him? The guy many fans wanted to send back to Texas for a bucket of balls in April. Now, after pitching his butt off, he's become a fan favorite? Interesting development. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I have no problem with fans booing players when they don't perform well, even at home.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2014
Like much of Baltimore, the Orioles organization has watched with interest as former closer Jim Johnson has struggled this early season with the Oakland Athletics. Interest probably isn't the right word. Try empathy. “Everybody's been there. Everybody's had a time where they're not pitching up to their potential,” said Orioles' set-up man Darren O'Day, who was one of Johnson's closer friends on the club. “I've been there. Tommy [Hunter] has been there. When I was with the [Texas]
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The Baltimore Sun | April 9, 2014
Oakland Athletics closer Jim Johnson struggled once again Wednesday, but the offense bailed him out in extra innings in a 7-4 win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. With a 4-2 lead entering the bottom of the ninth, Johnson allowed a single to the Twins' Jason Kubel and walked Kurt Suzuki before getting the first out. The former Orioles closer then walked Aaron Hicks to load the bases and gave up an RBI single to Eduardo Escobar before being removed from the game. Right-hander Dan Otero entered for Johnson and gave up a sacrifice fly to Minnesota's Brian Dozier to tie the game, 4-4. Otero pitched the final 2 2/3 innings to pick up the win. Johnson's ERA rose to 18.90 after his third rough outing in five appearances this season.
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