“Every game there’s a different star, that’s the magic of Orioles baseball!”
Nick Markakis twice came up with the bases loaded, and twice failed to deliver a single run.
Adam Jones was 0-for-4 on the night.
The team left eight runners on base.
No matter. The O’s have Lew Ford and Nate McLouth!
That’s right, in another improbable Orioles victory during this summer of improbable Orioles victories, Ford’s solo shot in the second inning and McLouth’s bases-loaded walk in the sixth and two-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth provided all the offense the O’s would get…or need.
The White Sox strung together a couple lucky hits in the top of the eighth off Pedro Strop to take a 2-1 lead, and it looked like the Birds were going to regret all of their earlier missed opportunities.
Mark Reynolds though – who displayed a stellar pitching eye all night – drew his third walk of the evening with one out in the bottom of the frame, bringing up McLouth.
I was really rooting for McLouth in this at bat, and for more than just the usual reasons. During his sixth inning AB, I noted that he did a good deed earlier in the day, going down to BARCS Animal Shelter in Baltimore. I’ve volunteered at BARCS as a dog walker and I love to see my athletes giving their time to great causes like this.
I had my fingers crossed that karma would smile upon Nate.
And smile it did, in the form of a 1-0 grooved fastball from Chicago reliever Brett Myers. The O’s left fielder jumped all over it, putting it on the flag court in right field and putting the Birds up for good.
Jim Johnson allowed a baserunner to second but no further to record his MLB-leading 40th save.
The O’s are now a ridiculous 24-6 in one-run games, and have won more games – 70 – then they won in all of 2011. It was their 13th consecutive one-run win, a new team record. They are a season-high (tie) 13 games over .500. At the time I’m writing this, Tampa is losing 6-5 in the eight inning in Texas, and the Yankees are tied at seven with Toronto in the bottom of the tenth.
It’s a pennant race in B’More, and the calendar is about to flip to September.
Orioles magic continues to roll along.