SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 18: Remember when it was like the 15th inning and you stopped caring about who wins because you just want to go home? Yeah, me neither! (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
For the first 8 innings of tonight's game in Seattle, I was trying to figure who in the world Erasmo Ramirez was. My friend and I discussed the random specifics of his career, which is that he is Nicaraguan hurler. He entered 2012 as the 13th best Mariner prospect according to Baseball America, of which I am certain you can probably name perhaps 3 others. But for 8 innings tonight against your Baltimore Orioles, he was dominant. He allowed 2 hits, both by Nate McLouth through those 8 innings, without surrendering a walk.
In his last Safeco Field start, Wei Yin Chen went something like 7 perfect innings. Tonight he was far from perfect. The Mariners were able to put some threats together, but were not able to plate a run until fourth, courtesy of a Miguel Olivo two-run homer. Side note: extra inning games yield anomalies, and tonight was no different. Witness: coming into tonight's game, sometimes Mariner catcher Miguel Olivo had 4 walks all season, in tonight's game alone he walked 3 times. Chen really didn't seem that strong tonight, and lasted only 5 and a third innings, allowing six hits and two walks, striking out just two.
But these are the 2012 Orioles. And baseball games are typically 9 innings long.
The 9th started innocently enough, with Showalter pinch hitting Ryan Flaherty for Robert Andino. Flaherty would drive a single to right. Nate McLouth would follow up with a single. Manager skipper relieved Ramirez with the usually reliable Tom Wilhelmsen. But he was no match for these Orioles. JJ Hardy sacrificed Flaherty and McLouth to second and third respectively. And Chris Davis came through again, this time lacing a two run single to tie the game.
And there we sat. And waited. And waited. And there was a lot of poor execution (two Mariner leadoff doubles). Sometimes it was great pitching. Sometimes it was luck (Lew Ford smashing liner). The Orioles had a couple threats, the Mariners had a couple threats. All the while, the bullpen managed to keep runs off the scoreboard. For if they didn't, the Orioles would surely have lost. I would come into more depth, but it's two in the morning.
But then came the 18th inning. Against Rule 5 lefty Lucas Luetge, Nate McLouth drew a walk. And then Showalter plays the hit and run, and Hardy grounds a weak ball to the vacated second base position. First and third nobody out. Taylor Teagarden pinch hits for Xavier Avery, and all Teagarden does is hit in the clutch and not anytime else. He comes through with the big hit, scoring McLouth. The Orioles tacked another run on a routine FC, 5-6. And Jim Johnson does what he does, racking up his 44th save, pretty easily. For the night, the Orioles bullpen (Arrieta, Matusz, O'Day, Strop, Johnson, Hunter, JJ) went 12.2 scoreless innings.
Your Baltimore Orioles are in first place on September 19th. Ain't the beer cold...
Most Birdland, September 18th!
Taylor Teagarden (PH RBI single in the top of the 18th) (123 votes)
Chris Davis (9th inning RBI single sending the game to extras, a pretty safe strategy) (75 votes)
The Bullpen (12 and two thirds scoreless. Sure it was the Mariners, but still) (463 votes)
661 total votes