In this supposed 'rebuilding' year for the O's, there have been a handful of thrilling games with spectacular performances from the young guys and veterans. While their record was 40-48 at the All-Star break, the majority of fans agree that this team is on the right track. Here is a list of the 5 most memorable games from the first half.
Opening Day, April 6th. Orioles 10 vs. Yankees 5.
The Orioles kicked their season off on the right foot by beating the Yankees and their prized off season acquisitions. Mark Teixiera was properly greeted by tens of thousands boos hollered by bitter O's fans. C.C. Sabathia allowed six runs as Roberts, Jones, and Markakis combined for 8 hits and 7 runs between the three of them. This game was more than just a win but rather a benchmark for where this team was and still is fostering hope for the future.
Reimold's Heroics, May 27th. Orioles 12 vs. Blue Jays 10 in 11 innings.
Nothing was in the Orioles favor for this game. For one, it was a day game, they were facing the American League's best pitcher at the time in Roy Halladay, and it was the final game of a series in which they won the first two games. Despite all of those pieces in the Blue Jays favor, Orioles Magic returned to Birdland. Halladay was bumped from the game after 7 solid innings and the O's had there chance. The Orioles were down by 5 runs entering the 8th but battled back with a merry-go-round of hits to tie the ballgame. In the top of the 12th however, Danys Baez gave up a two run homer to Aaron Hill to break up the tie. In the bottom half of the inning, the rookie Nolan Reimold stepped to the plate playing in just his 13th career major league ballgame. With the score 10-9 and two runners on base, the rookie jacked the 1-1 pitch over the left field fence, game over, O's win 12-10!
Wieter's Debut, May 29th. Orioles 7 vs. Tigers 2.
This potentially historic game drew national attention as the #1 prospect in baseball was called up. However, Matt Wieters' debut in front of a packed house at the Yard was overshadowed by Luke Scott's two home run performance and Bergesen's gem. Luke's grand slam onto the flag court and Brad Bergesen's 8 strong innings helped the O's win their 7th game in 8 days.
Roberts Silences Citizens Bank Park, June 20th. Orioles 6 @ Phillies 5.
In the midst of interleague play, the Orioles stunned 40,000 Phillies fans at Citizens Bank Park by taking the lead after trailing by two entering the top of the ninth. After a Ryan Howard bomb off Danys Baez in the 7th to give the Phils a two-run lead, the O's used a Gregg Zaun solo shot and a Brian Roberts two out, two strike, two-run home run to overcome the Phils. The Orioles went on to sweep the World Champions the following day.
Historic Comeback, June 30th. Orioles 11 vs. Red Sox 10.
What really is there to say about this one? Wow! Everyone who was at or watched this historic game was speechless. This is perhaps the most memorable game of the past decade for the O's. The Birds overcame a nine run deficit, yes a NINE RUN deficit, to beat the first place Red Sox. With five runs in the 7th and five more in the 8th, the Orioles set a franchise record for largest comeback in team history. This win is a testament to the team's heart and persistence regardless of the situation, the two qualities winning teams must have in order to succeed. Unfortunately, Orioles fans will always remember the 4-run lead the Orioles blew in the 9th the following day. That's baseball.
The Orioles kicked off their interleague schedule by taking a trip down 95 to play in the 'Battle of the Beltways' versus the Nats. This was a very well played game by both teams and it took a fluke play to split the 2-2 tie. In the top of the 12th, Danys Baez was forced to hit because the O's ran out of bench players. He swung at the second pitch he saw and the ball dribbled down the left field line as Baez reached first safely to keep the inning alive. Roberts and Jones followed with consecutive doubles as Baez scored what ended up being the game winning run. Take that, 12-29 Nats!
K-Rod's Collapse, June 18 vs. Mets. 5-4.
Trailing 4-3 entering the bottom of the 9th, the O's were in line to add another loss to their 0-34 record when trailing after 8 innings. With arguably the best closer in the majors on the mound primed to record another save, the Orioles stood no chance right? Nope, the O's defied the odds and scored two runs of Francisco Rodriguez, aided by a game winning single by Aubrey Huff, to win the series against the Mets.