The Orioles continue to show a level of fight that we’re not used to seeing from our Baltimore baseball club (in recent years, anyway; this year’s squad has done this kind of thing time and time again).
Trailing 5-0 going into the bottom of the second inning, and 7-2 going into the bottom of the sixth, the Birds rallied thanks in part to home runs from Matt Wieters (a pair of solo shots) and J.J. Hardy (a clutch 3-run bomb) to tie the Seattle Mariners at seven runs apiece after seven innings.
The comeback erased what had started out as another awful outing from Zach Britton (who was demoted to AAA Norfolk following the game), in which the young lefty once again put his team in a big hole early and was removed in the fifth inning.
Following Britton’s departure, the bullpen – as it has been all year – was absolutely stellar, as Kevin Gregg, Troy Patton, Luis Ayala, Matt Lindstrom, Pedro Strop, and Darren O’Day combined for NINE scoreless innings.
Two defensive miscues in the first by the Birds – one by Britton and one by frying-pan-mitt Wilson Betemit – led directly to a 3-run homer by the Mariners’ Kyle Seager. Another home run in the second, this time by Miguel Olivo, followed by three consecutive Seattle singles staked the M’s to that early 5-0 lead.
Undeterred, the O’s battled back once again, scoring two in the second, one in the sixth, and four in the seventh.
If one were to nit-pick the win, a complaint could be made about the fact that, after tying up the game in the seventh, the Birds went quietly in the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth innings before finally taking advantage of the opportunity for the walk-off victory.
As a result of that, Buck Showalter was running extremely low on options out of his bullpen, saying after the game that it was “getting close to Chris Davis time.” Other roster moves will likely be made today to bolster a pen that is running very near empty.
Still, it’s much better to have this problem after a win than it would be if the O’s had lost in 14 innings. The extra-inning win was the Orioles’ ridiculous 12th consecutive such win in 2012, just two behind the all-time single season record.
The victory was also B’More’s 59th of the year, and at 59-51 they are now just 3.5 games behind the Yankees in the A.L. East, and are in a three-way tie for the second wild card spot.
Both teams having very depleted bullpens, they now look for strong outings from their starters tonight as Steve Johnson makes his first MLB start, opposing former Oriole Kevin Millwood (4-9, 4.01).
Hopefully tomorrow morning we’ll be breaking out our ridiculous “sweeping O’s fan man” graphic here at the Nest.