Counting down to the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.
17. 30-3 – Aug. 22, 2007
Sometimes a picture tells you everything you need to know.
It was a historic moment in baseball history, even if it came at the expense of the hometown team.
Perhaps the most remarkable part of the Texas Rangers’ absurd 30-3 victory in the first game of a doubleheader was the fact that the Orioles led 3-0 heading into the fourth inning. If only they could have quit right there.
With a score that looked more like a Cowboys-Ravens’ result — if not for the Ravens holding a 3-0 all-time record against Dallas — the Rangers became the first team in 110 years to plate 30 runs to set modern major league and American League records. It was the second-most runs scored all-time, behind only the Chicago Colts who scored 36 against the Louisville Colonels on June 29, 1897.
After starter Daniel Cabrera was chased from the game after giving up six runs in five innings, his work would be the best of the day as Brian Burres, Rob Bell, and Paul Shuey combined to allow an incredible 24 runs in four innings of relief. The Rangers’ production included a nine-run sixth and a 10-run eighth as the Orioles staff allowed a team-record 29 hits.
The result was more lopsided than the Rangers’ 26-7 win over the Orioles in Arlington in 1996, but at least there was no sign of Manny Alexander taking the hill in the late innings. The Orioles bullpen provided enough comedy — and agony — on its own without handing the ball to a position player for mop-up duty.
“I knew we’d get the bats going, but I never expected anything like this,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after the game. “When the faucet is on, you want it to stay on. You never want to cut it off.”
That faucet more closely resembled Niagara Falls with Ramon Vazquez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — the Rangers’ eighth- and ninth-place hitters that day — each hitting two homers and driving in seven runs. To add further insult to injury, Texas took the nightcap of the doubleheader, 9-7.
The most amusing part of the 30-3 debacle? Rangers reliever Wes Littleton pitched three scoreless innings to earn the easiest save in big league history.
On a day in which he should have been happy after the Orioles announced he would return to manage the club in 2008, then-interim manager Dave Trembley was instead asked how you respond after such a humiliating defeat: “You have a real short memory and you let it go.”
Perhaps the result was a terrible omen as Trembley would manage the club to a 187-283 record (.398 winning percentage), though he had very little to work with in his four seasons.
Never was it more evident than that evening at Camden Yards.