So every now and again we get these sponsored posts. A company pays to have their logo at the top of the story, and we're told a general topic for the post. These are always voluntary, but the topics are often interesting things that I might not think of myself. For example, last year we did a sponsored series on the top ten all star moments, and that was pretty cool.
Anyway, the theme for this sponsored post is "favorite sports highlight." It was a tough one for me because I first took it to mean "all-time highlight," and the fact is, most of the Orioles greatest highlights came before I was born or when I was too young to remember. But then I remembered the word favorite, and I just started thinking about highlights that made me happy. Maybe they didn't put the O's into the playoffs or clinch the world series, maybe in the scheme of another 90+ loss season, they didn't mean anything greater than what they were.
My first thought, of course, was September 28, 2011. Ending the season with a walk off win that kept the Red Sox out of the playoffs is awesome and was one of the most exciting baseball games I can remember attending. But we've talked about it a lot lately. My second thought was Brian Roberts' walk-off home run against the Yankees on June 28, 2005. But I'm so tired of hearing about 2005 this season.
So instead, after this long drag out, I'll tell you what I did choose: May 27, 2009. The Orioles were playing the Toronto Blue Jays in a Wednesday afternoon getaway game and were looking for the sweep. The problem? Rich Hill was pitching for the O's against the great Roy Halladay. Roy was having a bit of an off day (for him) and only pitched seven innings, giving up three runs. As for Hill, well, he lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs.
Going into the 8th inning the O's were down by a score of 8-3, but with Halladay out of the game they staged a five-run rally to tie it, a rally that started with a bases-loaded HBP to Chad Moeller. The score remained 8-8 until the top of the 11th when Danys Baez gave up a two-run homer to Aaron Hill. Oh, Danys. I don't miss you at all. The Orioles appeared to be sunk, but obviously were not or I wouldn't be writing this.
The bottom of the 11th started with a single from Nick Markakis. Aubrey Huff followed with a pop out, but then back-to-back singles from Melvin Mora and Luke Scott knocked in Nick to make the score 10-9 with two runners on. Up to the plate stepped Nolan Reimold, who had pinch hit for Felix Pie in the 8th inning and struck out, then struck out with two runners on in the 9th inning. He was much better in this at bat. Watch for yourself:
Obviously all walk offs are fun, but there are so many reasons I love this one. First, it completed the sweep, which is a rare feat in Birdland, especially against the Blue Jays. And this was Nolan's exciting rookie year and only his 13th game in the majors. And to top if all off, watching Melvin Mora skip home from third like a five year old is the most adorable thing I've ever seen.