In my opinion, a suicide squeeze is one of the most exciting in baseball. Obviously the most exciting way to win a game is on a walk off homer, however a squeeze play is right up there. MASN’s Gary Thorne predicted a walk off homer in the 10th inning of last night’s O’s/Mariners game. However going into the last of that inning, Seattle held a slim 4-3 lead after an Adam Moore homer in the top of the 10th off of Alfredo Simon. However as has been proven time and time again in the Showalter administration in Baltimore, these O’s won’t go quietly into the night.
Seattle brought David Aardsma into the game to close it out. Aardsma, the former Boston Red Sox reliever wasn’t properly locating his wicked splittah, as they would say in New England. After he gave up a base hit to Luke Scott (who was lifted for pinch-runner Corey Patterson), Adam Jones walked to put runners at first and second. Felix Pie laid down a sacrifice bunt, and appeared to make it to first base safely…although ol’ blue disagreed. Unfortunately that left first base open, and Seattle intentionally walked Matt Wieters. After a fielder’s choice out with Izturis, Julio Lugo walked with the bases loaded to tie the game.
Nick Markakis doubled to left field in the bottom of the eleventh, and was moved to third by Ty Wiggington. After a Corey Patterson ground out, Adam Jones stepped to the plate. As the crowd rose in anticipation, a breeze blew through Camden Yards, reminding the Oriole faithful that the autumn was starting to near, and with it would come the end of the baseball season. However on those winds also brought good fortune for the Orioles, as Adam Jones laid down a bunt down the third base line. As Markakis streaked towards home, Seattle third baseman Jose Lopez tried in vain to pick up the ball and throw out Jones at first. Whether or not either runner would have been safe is something we’ll never know, because Lopez whiffed on the ball. Markakis touched home plate, giving the Orioles their tenth walk off win of the season, and Seattle their tenth loss in that fashion.
While ten walk off wins is actually fairly impressive, it seems like it’s been other teams celebrating victories as such at the Orioles’ expense this year. In this game the Orioles walked into the perfect favorable storm in that they faced a reliever in Aardsma that was just a little off, and they took advantage of that when it counted. (Sean White pitched the eleventh so he actually got the loss, but Aardsman pretty much set Seattle up to lose the game in the tenth.) In winning this game, the Orioles avoided their first three-game losing streak under Showalter. While that’s bound to happen at some point, better later than now, right?!
The game ended at approximately 10:50 PM, however there was still work to be done for the Orioles. They had until midnight to sign first round draft pick Manny Machado. To further complicate matters, Machado is represented by Scott Boras, and we all know his apparent regard for the Orioles and Peter Angelos. However at approximately 11:57 PM, Machado signed a deal with the team. He’ll probably be in Baltimore later this week for a physical, and will report to the Gulf Coast Orioles. (The terms of the deal were not totally disclosed, however the bonus is less than the $6 million that was given to Matt Wieters.) This shows strides in several different areas. First and foremost, the Orioles haven’t had a solid shortstop with power since Miguel Tejada left the first time around. All of the signs point to the fact that Machado can and will be a guy like that. However as I said, he’s also represented by Boras. With Wieters (also a Boras client) and now Machado on board, perhaps Boras will be more willing to do business with the O’s. Personally I think that Boras is one of the things that is wrong with baseball (much like Drew Rosenhaus in the NFL), however he’s an influential figure that unfortunately can very much influence who’s hot and who’s not in the league. Part of the reason that he’s so willing to do business with the Yankees and Red Sox is because they’re willing to pay more than anyone else for their players. When an agent’s getting a cut of that paycheck (usually 10%), I suppose he’s going to go to a team like New York or Boston. But for the time being Machado’s an Oriole…let’s hope he’s celebrating last night’s win just like his fellow players.