The Baltimore Orioles entered today with two games left in the regular season, and a doubleheader to top it off. Kind of fitting in a way, given that games had to be squeezed in and rescheduled all year due to the lockout. But yet here we are. Mike Baumann got the start for the O’s in game one this afternoon, the penultimate game of the season (Game 161). Baumann’s line: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K.
Baumann pitched a good game, in short, staying in for one pitch too many. Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI-single by Lopez. However Baumann mowed down Toronto hitters after that, albeit pitching out of a couple of jams. With reliever Keegan Akin warming in the bullpen, Baumann put two runners on in the sixth. Unfortunately, that almost cost the O’s.
Moreno smacked a three-run home run with one down, extending Toronto’s lead to 4-0. Baumann was pulled immediately afterwards, but it was a shame to see him have the game blown open on him after such a good outing. And after a strong showing in the majors for part of this season.
But the game wasn’t “blown open” for long. Austin Hays smacked a two-RBI double to left in the last of the sixth, cutting the Toronto lead to 4-2. However that was only an appetizer. There was still some Orioles Magic left in Game 161.
The O’s put two runners on in the last of the eighth, bringing Terrin Vavra to the plate. And Vavra delivered big time. His first major league home run was a three-run homer, and it gave the Orioles the lead. And ultimately the win.
Someone’s first major league home run is always a big deal. But Vavra’s came at a key moment in the game, and it literally lifted the Birds onto victory. Does that make it more memorable? In my view it does.
It also reminded the fans, perhaps for the last time, what these 2022 Orioles were about. They always did their best work after the seventh inning. Game one this afternoon was no exception. That will be the mark of this year’s team, and it’ll be a great thing to remember.
The series and the season conclude in just a few moments at Camden Yards as we enter the final game of the regular season. Spenser Watkins gets the start for the O’s, and Toronto is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just a few moments from now, but the official time has not yet been announced as this is being written.