I suppose the question for the Baltimore Orioles is which win in Toronto this weekend was bigger? Which was the seasons’s “signature win” (to date, at least)? Was it yesterday’s slow slog, or today’s game, started by Dean Kremer? Dean Kremer, who incidentally put the O’s in a spot to win today. Kremer’s line: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K.
Similar to yesterday, today’s game seemed to have a late-season or post-season big game feel to it. The air was thick all day, and neither side was seemingly ready to blink. Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the second with a solo homer by Chapman. But solo homers rarely beat you.
The O’s would tie the score in the third on an RBI-groundout by Adley Rutschman. Anthony Santander would then reach on a fielder’s choice, scoring Cedric Mullins from third. And the Orioles led, 2-1.
A downside to this game (following yesterday’s) for the Orioles was that the bullpen was taxed. They potentially had only three or four relievers available – short of an emergency, that is. In fact, I might even argue that there could have been consideration of using a starter out of the ‘pen had it been necessary. Luckily, that didn’t happen. And the O’s have an off day tomorrow.
One of the fresh relievers was Mychal Givens, who came off the IL before the ballgame. Givens of course was an Oriole for many years, and has now returned after three years away. He showed some rust, however overall it was a good outing – save for letting Toronto tie the score at two on a sac fly-RBI by Chapman in the seventh.
And just like that, we went to extra innings again, tied at two. As the title states, this was a series for the ages. So it was only fitting that the game went to extra innings. Cedric Mullins opened the extra frame(s) with a run-scoring single, and suddenly the Birds had the lead back at 3-2. However Merrifield added a run-scoring single of his own in the bottom of the inning, and we played on.
Those runs of course were courtesy of the ghost runner rule. As was the first run the Orioles scored in the 11th, off a single by Austin Hays. However all things being the same (which is always a tough argument to make), the O’s still would have taken this game. Terrin Vavra went up with two runners in scoring position as a pinch hitter, and smacked a two-RBI single. Cedric Mullins followed with a two-RBI double, and suddenly the Orioles walked out with an 8-3 win.
It goes without saying that this is a huge sweep of a division rival. Not to mention that it happened at their place. However as I said yesterday and I said above, the entire series was played with tension. Toronto’s a team that thrives off of controversy, and they “wanted the Orioles” all weekend.
And the good news for them is that they got them. They got the best that the Orioles could give them. And by series’ end, I think everyone in both organizations, and across baseball, were put on notice as to who the better team is. Let there be no mistake.