Hardy rests sore groin, records hit off bench

Hardy rests sore groin, records hit off bench

BALTIMORE -- J.J. Hardy toughed out another nine innings Saturday night despite lingering groin discomfort. On Sunday, the Orioles shortstop was given rest -- until the ninth inning.

Hardy, who was out of the starting lineup for the finale of a four-game series against the Twins, entered as a defensive replacement with the Orioles holding a one-run lead. After closer Zach Britton allowed a game-tying run to force extras, Hardy notched an infield single to shortstop in the 11th, giving way to pinch-runner Jimmy Paredes.

With the game still tied entering the 12th, Paredes stayed in the game at third base, shifting Manny Machado to shortstop for his first Major League appearance at the position. Machado and Paredes each committed an error as the Twins pushed ahead for a 4-3 lead, which held up.

Baltimore was swept by Minnesota in the four-game series, losing all seven matchups with the Twins this season. With the hit, Hardy was batting .157 (11-for-70) in August.

"We've seen J.J. Hardy hit 30 home runs in a year. We've seen him do other things. He's spoiled us with a level that he's not at [this] moment," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's there. We're just trying to get to it."

Ryan Flaherty started at shortstop, batting ninth, before being lifted for pinch-hitter Matt Wieters in the eighth.

Though he took some positives from his plate appearances in Saturday's 3-2 loss, Hardy admitted, "I haven't been feeling great in the box." As for the injury, he said the groin had been "sore for a couple of days," but two nights earlier it started getting worse.

Hardy's sacrifice fly

Not known as a high average hitter, Hardy's power numbers are down for the second straight season. He has seven home runs and 32 RBIs in 2015, batting .220 in 92 games.

Worth noting

• Steve Pearce (oblique strain) was scheduled to bat third and play left field Sunday for Double-A Bowie. Though Pearce won't initially travel with Baltimore to Kansas City for the start of a weeklong trip, Showalter said "it's possible" the versatile veteran could join the team on the road. Pearce went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly Saturday in his first rehab game with Bowie.

• Outfielder David Lough, who was designated for assignment Aug. 14, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday.

Ben Standig is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.