Today’s game was the epitome of a “team win” for the Baltimore Orioles. They got a solid start out of Grayson Rodriguez in Toronto this afternoon, however the fact is that the wheels really started turning after Rodriguez had left the ballgame. Rodriguez’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K.
Literally everyone who played today contributed. Now the down side of that is the fact that the Birds used five relievers, including closer Felix Bautista (who actually recorded the win); he pitched two innings. It would stand to reason that he won’t be available tomorrow, but keep in mind that the O’s are also off on Monday. Time will tell.
The Birds led 2-0 early after the first couple of innings. Ryan O’Hearn smacked an RBI-single in the second, and Cedric Mullins a solo homer in the third (umpire reviewed and ruled a home run). However Toronto tied the game at two on a two-run homer by Springer in the fifth. Jansen sent a solo shot out in the last of the sixth, and the Birds suddenly trailed.
Toronto would put two more runs on the board in the seventh, and it stood to reason those were insurance runs. However never count this crop of Orioles out. They fully buy into the legacy of the spirit of Orioles Magic that hovers over top of this franchise. Especially late in games.
The O’s put two runners on in the top of the eighth, with Ryan O’Hearn coming back to the plate. Remember, O’Hearn started the scoring this afternoon back in the second inning. O’Hearn of course had a great spring, which is why he’s a big leaguer now, but little did we know that he also had the “clutch gene” that so many of his teammates seem to have.
O’Hearn sent a deep shot toward the right field grandstand at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Many in the crowd thought the game was basically over, and that the home-standing Jays had won. But O’Hearn and the O’s had other ideas. His three-run homer gave the Birds new life, and tied the game.
The game went to extra innings, this following Felix Bautista pitching out of a jam in the last of the ninth. He had two on and nobody out, the lead runner of course being the winning run. But NONE of them crossed the plate, and we played on.
The O’s took advantage of the ghost runner rule, and immediately moved Ryan Mountcastle to third. Austin Hays plated him with a fielder’s choice, giving the O’s a 6-5 lead. Bautista closed out the game in the last of the tenth, giving the O’s a 6-5 win – and a series victory.
This recap doesn’t do the heaviness of this game justice. It was seemingly played with the intensity of an elimination game in October. Maybe it was Toronto who brought that intensity, drama, etc. For whatever reason. Drama and controversy seems to make them tick. But make no mistake that it was the Orioles who had the last say.
The series concludes tomorrow at Rogers Centre. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Kevin Gausman (former Oriole). Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.