For the 2012 Orioles, there truly seems to be a different hero every night. The most recent hero wasn’t even in the organization at the beginning of the season. His stay with the big league club was then cut short by injury, and he’s been on the DL since July 31 (after coming over in a trade with Philadelphia July 1). Saturday was his first day back, and the veteran DH Jim Thome delivered the game winning hit in Baltimore’s 9-6, twelve-inning affair in Boston.
Thome’s bomb to right with one out in the twelfth bounced on the warning track and over the short wall at Fenway, scoring Adam Jones (who’d led off with a double himself), breaking a 6-6 tie. Thome’s blast was followed by an RBI hit by Endy Chavez, another by Manny Machado, and the Orioles’ record 47th save from Jim Johnson. And while an extra-inning win is nothing unusual for the birds—this WAS their 16th in a row—how they got there was odd for this bunch.
The O’s built a 3-1 lead on Boston by the fourth, thanks to an RBI single from Manny Machado, sandwiched between an RBI groundout from Jones, and Mark Reynolds’ 22nd homer of the year. In their half of the fourth, the Sox tied it up on a two-run Danny Valencia homer off O’s starter Randy Wolf.
Ryan Flaherty plated a pair in the sixth with a triple, and it was 5-3. Jones’ 31st home run of 2012 made it 6-3 in the seventh. This is the point where the game is usually over. The back end of the O’s bullpen has been bulletproof, and with a three run lead with nine outs to go, Orioles Nation was already celebrating. Too soon? Indeed.
Jake Arrieta, on in relief of Wolf, allowed the first three Red Sox to reach, then gave up back-to-back, run producing groundouts. It was 6-5.
Pedro Strop came on in the eighth, looking to snap out of a funk. He didn’t do that. The Sox mounted a two-out rally, starting with Daniel Nava’s double to center. Next up, Scott Podsednik hit a fly ball to left. Nate McLouth, the one-time gold glove winning outfield who has absolutely solidified the O’s outfield defense, misplayed this one.
McLouth started to his left, but overran the ball. Then, he leaped, thinking his back was against the wall. In reality, McLouth had another stride left, and the ball hit in a very catch-able spot on the Monster. Nava scored, and we were tied at 6.
The O’s did get some fine relief work from Luis Ayala and Brian Matusz before Tommy Hunter (W, 6-8) entered. Hunter was dominant, setting the Sox down in order, and actually hitting 100 MPH on the Fenway radar gun.
The Orioles are going for the sweep of the Red Sox Sunday afternoon, with Chris Tillman (8-2, 3.22) taking the hill against Felix Doubront (11-9, 5.09). Game time is 1:35.
- Who knew in July that guys like Thome, Hunter, Matusz, Chavez, and Reynolds would be making such contributions? Let alone Machado or McLouth…
- Multi-hit efforts from Matt Wieters and Machado (3 hits each), Jones, Chris Davis, and Ryan Flaherty (2). For Flaherty, the hits were his first big league double, and his first triple in the majos.
- Reynolds vs. Boston this year: 6HR, 16RBIs.
- McLouth’s day was not good: 0/6, 1BB, 2K, 1SB (9), 6LOB, and the misplay in left.
- Hardy: 0/6, 1K, 4LOB. So the 1-2 hitters for the Orioles combined for an 0/12 night with 3 K’s and a combined 10 left on base.
- The Yankees won in 14 over the A’s.