Baltimore Orioles: Stevie Wilkerson for the win…!

Jimmy Yacabonis started for the Baltimore Orioles last night, but that’s almost irrelevant. Almost. Yacabonis was in essence the opener. Yacabonis’ line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R 2 BB, 1 K.

Anaheim took a 1-0 lead on a sac fly-RBI in the second inning. However that runner made it into scoring position by virtue of a wild pitch. Just another example of a small thing that hurt the Orioles in a game. Attention to detail is important.

The teams exchanged runs here and there, but Calhoun’s seventh-inning bases-clearing double gave Anaheim a 4-2 lead. The Al’s closed to within 4-3 on a sac fly-RBI in the eight, and later in the inning Stevie Wilkerson‘s RBI-double tied the game back up at four.

The Orioles thought they had the game won – several times over at that. But Trey Mancini‘s solo homer in the ninth would have been the winning run. If not for Godwin’s solo homer in the last of the ninth tying it at five.

And…we played on. I suppose it was destined that this game would turn into a marathon. I’ve said this before, but once a game goes past the twelfth inning, it goes into the twilight zone. You never want to be a part of a marathon game, but being in the midst of a west coast swing where it’s tough to call up another reliever and so forth…not ideal for the O’s. But you have to play the hand you’re dealt.

Newly-acquired Jace Peterson smacked a two-RBI single in the 15th, and later in the inning Hanser Alberto added an additional run with an RBI-single of his own. A three-run lead in the 15th should be safe – one would think. However to their credit, Anaheim didn’t quit. Even at that late hour. They managed to tie the game back up in the bottom of the inning. And on we played.

But it wasn’t tied for long. Jonathan Villar‘s two-run homer in the 16th gave the Birds a 10-8 lead. But the O’s still had to play the last of the inning. And they were out of pitchers.

Stevie Wilkerson has of course appeared in relief, and he’s been decent at it. Perhaps there’s a method to the madness of having position players pitch here and there, because Wilkerson was ready when called upon. For the record, I wouldn’t have used Wilkerson in that spot. It’s one thing when the game’s out of hand. It’s another when going for a save. I would have used a starter.

But the Orioles called on Wilkerson, and he delivered. He retired Anaheim 1-2-3, and the O’s went home with a 10-8 victory in a six hour plus long game. In doing so, Wilkerson became the first position player to ever record a save. And that’s it for now…on the twilight zone.

The series continues tonight at Angel Stadium. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Griffin Canning. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

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