Friday, July 26, 2019

Orioles Victory Card Number 33: Even out west, that win went late into the night

Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 33: 10-8, 16 innings over the Los Angeles Angels

2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara had 13 saves in his 3 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. Steve Wilkerson is now only 12 behind him.  After three chances, the Orioles finally held on to a late lead as Wilkerson, originally an infielder, now an outfielder by trade, retired the Angels 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 16th inning to preserve a 10-8 lead. With a steady diet of 50-ish mile-an-hour "fastballs" he got Brian Goodwin (who had homered in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game) to fly out to center. He then enticed a ground ball from Cole Calhoun for out number two. He then had future hall-of-famer Albert Puljos fly out to shallow centerfield for the final out.

Wilkerson entered the history books as the first position player to earn a save (a feat that earned him a baseball card) on what was surely one of his more interesting nights. He was 1-7 at the plate, but drove in a run. He misplayed a flyball into a double that gave the Angels an early lead and then came in to earn the save.

The Orioles themselves had an interesting night. Mychal Givens came in the 8th inning and struck out the world's best player, Mike Trout, looking - with the goahead run on base. Trey Mancini planted a fastball in the right field bleachers in the top of the ninth and it looked like the Os may pull it out. Givens started the ninth by making Shohei Ohtani look foolish on a change-up for a strikeout. Then Goodwin blasted a fastball into the seats.  First lead blown.

In the fifteenth, the Orioles scratched some runs across the old-fashioned way. Jonathan Villar reached on a fielder's choice and then stole second. He advanced to third on a wild pickoff throw. Dwight Smith, Jr. walked and then stole second. Jace Peterson justified his call-up with a 2-run single. He then stole second and scored on Hanser Alberto's single.

With a three-run lead and a runner on second, Tanner Scott forgot how to throw strikes walking three in a row. Trout then got his revenge by lashing a double down the left field line. Two runs scored to tie the game but David Fletcher was ruled out at home on a close play. Second lead blown.

In the sixteenth inning, with the east coast starting to wake up for work, Jonathan Villar blasted a two-run shot off of Griffen Canning to give the Orioles yet another lead. Wilkerson shut it down from there. Just your normal 16-inning, 6-hour 19-minute, 20-pitchers used, 18 runs scored, 10-8 victory.

Wins like this are the fun parts of a mostly dark season. They really don't mean much for the Orioles (although they did pick up a game on the division-leading Yankees), but do provide some fun for the club and the fans.

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