Saturday’s thrilling 7-6 13 inning victory showed why this team will hang around this year and play meaningful games in August and September. They refuse to quit. Even if you have deficiencies, heart and determination can overcome a lot of things. So many things about Saturday’s game were impressive yet so frustrating. Not many teams have the ability to blow a big lead, then rally from two different deficits to pull out a victory. It really should have never gotten to the 13th inning. Wei Yin Chen’s outstanding performance should have been enough to propel the Orioles to victory. Unfortunately the Oriole deficiencies allowed the Tigers back in the game. Most will point to Jim Johnson’s blown save as the catalyst, but it all started with the Oriole offense being unable to take advantage of numerous opportunities to pad their lead throughout the game. The most glaring was the wasted chance to put the game away in the bottom of the eighth inning. Tigers’ reliever Darin Downs walked the bases loaded with one out. Nick Markakis came to the plate with a chance to pad the lead but instead bounced into an inning ending double play. Most O’s fans didn’t think much of that considering that Johnson has been lights out this year. Johnson didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday, but Ryan Flaherty made things worse when he couldn’t field Delmon Young’s potential game ending double play ball and the error opened the door for the Tigers. But the Orioles refused to quit. Quentin Berry’s single tied the game at four, but Endy Chavez’s perfect throw nailed Brennan Boesch at the plate to keep the game tied. The Tigers struck again in the 11th. How many times have you seen this? With two outs and runners on first and third Oriole Pitcher Troy Patton painted the outside corner with a fastball on a 1-2 count and didn’t get the call. Sure enough Alex Avila blooped the next pitch into center to give the Tigers the lead. Most teams would have just folded up the tent there but not the O’s. Nick Markakis doubled to left with one out. Jose Valverde struck out J.J. Hardy, then decided to walk Jim Thome to get to Adam Jones. Jones came through with another clutch hit, a bloop single to left to tie the game at five. Sometimes the baseball gods do even things up right away. The Tigers struck again in the 13th. It was Berry again this time singling to center with two outs to put Detroit up 6-5. Surely this would be the run that would do in the O’s. No chance, J.J. Hardy stepped to the plate mired in a 0-28 slump and promptly homered to left to tie the game at six. So what would be more improbable then a guy in a 0-28 slump tying a game in extra innings? How about a guy just off the disabled list playing in his first game this year hitting a two-run homer to win it? If you don’t believe me (I sure wouldn’t blame you) here’s the video below
Sure why not that’s the kind of year it’s been for this team. Taylor Teagarden’s home run to right field ended it. He had swung and missed at four fastballs and barely fouled off another before his epic home run. It all adds up to another unbelievable win for the birds in this crazy season.