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Orioles outlast Angels, 10-8, in 16-inning marathon

Villar’s home run, Wilkerson’s pitching in a pinch lift the O’s to victory in an epic in Anaheim.

Baltimore Orioles v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

It was a game worth staying up for. And for any Orioles fans with enough energy to see the ending, it was one they won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Jonathan Villar hit a two-run home run in the top of the 16th inning, Stevie Wilkerson (yes, the centerfielder) got the save, and the Orioles took a 10-8 win over the Angels that stretched deep into the night and morning, six hours and 18 minutes after it began.

So much happened in this one. There was a seemingly fatal misjudgment in center field by Wilkerson, followed by his returning the favor with a game-saving double. There was a go-ahead home run in the ninth from Trey Mancini, and a game-tying home run moments later from the Angels’ Brian Goodwin.

There was a should-have-been game-winning rally led by the recently recalled Jace Peterson, one that was somehow negated minutes later by a meltdown by Tanner Scott.

And all of this happened after most of the East Coast had gone to bed.

But finally, there was a huge hit from the Oriole in perhaps the team’s biggest slump. Villar, who was 0-for-his-last-15 entering the game, followed a Pedro Severino single by ripping a Griffin Canning pitch over the right field wall for a two-run shot and a 10-8 lead.

The Orioles weren’t safe, however. With every pitcher having been used, there was still the issue of who was going to try to close out the victory. In shades of Chris Davis seven years ago, the job went to Wilkerson, who threw soft but in the zone, and got three straight outs to finally send the weary Birds back to the locker room with the victory.

It was Baltimore’s second crack at hanging on to a win in as many innings. In the top of the 15th, Peterson, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk hours before, came through after both teams had exchanged zeroes from the 10th through 14th innings, lining a single off first baseman Albert Pujols’s glove that scored both Villar and Dwight Smith Jr. for a 7-5 lead. Soon after, Hanser Alberto followed with a single to center, scoring Peterson to bump the lead to 8-5.

It seemed safe - until Scott took the mound in the bottom half. Visibly unsettled, Scott imploded, throwing balls on 15 of his first 21 pitches, the last of which walked David Fletcher on four pitches with the bases loaded to make it 8-6.

That brought up only the best player in the game in Mike Trout, who ripped a line drive down the left field line to score Andrelton Simmons and Luis Rengifo. The Angels went for the win and sent Fletcher, but a perfect relay from Smith Jr. to Villar to Severino cut him down and - after video review - allowed the game to reach the 16th, where Villar had some more heroics waiting.

The dramatics, though, started well before the game transitioned into a marathon. Baltimore led 2-1 after an RBI single from Renato Nunez in the fifth, but the Angels rallied in the seventh. Fletcher singled with one out, Trout walked, and after a Shohei Ohtani lineout, Justin Upton walked as well to load the bases.

Manager Brandon Hyde went with Paul Fry out of the bullpen, who gave up a deep fly ball to center to Kole Calhoun. Wilkerson took an awkward route back to the hard-hit ball, and couldn’t haul in the catch that would have ended the inning. Instead, all three runners scored on the double, and the Angels took a 4-2 lead.

The Orioles weren’t done. Severino singled, and Villar followed with another single to put runners at the corners in the eighth. Smith Jr. then lined a ball into the left-center field gap that Trout ran down, but that allowed Severino to come in and trim the gap to one. Wilkerson, given a chance to make up for the misjudged ball earlier, came through by ripping a line drive to right-center field, scoring Villar and tying the game at 4.

There was more. In the ninth, Mancini, quiet all game, drilled a Hansel Robles offering over the wall in right field, putting the Orioles ahead 5-4 only moments after they were seemingly buried by the Calhoun double. The Baltimore dugout erupted, with players running out to greet Mancini as he returned after putting the Orioles only three outs away from a hard-fought win.

Nothing on this night, however, came easy. Mychal Givens came out for the save and got Ohtani to strike out swinging, but couldn’t get a fastball past Goodwin, who was called in to hit for Upton. The Angels outfielder bombed the offering over the same wall Mancini cleared, tying the game at 5, where it stayed through the 10th...and the 11th...and 12th, 13th, and 14th.

Finally, in the 15th, the Orioles made a move. And when fate made it so they’d have to do it again, the O’s were up for the challenge once more.

A 33-69 season is nothing fun to follow. But on Thursday, the Orioles looked nothing like what their record would suggest. There were opportunities to give in, opportunities to let frustration and demoralization set in, but the team showed fight. And toughness. Repeatedly.

There may not be much to play for these days, but don’t tell that to the Orioles. In front of what was almost certainly their smallest TV crowd of the year, the O’s pulled off what was by far their biggest win.

Poll

Who was the most Birdland player for Thursday, July 25 (and 26), 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Jonathan Villar (three runs, game-winning home run in the 16th inning)
    (146 votes)
  • 60%
    Stevie Wilkerson (RBI double, save)
    (259 votes)
  • 1%
    Jace Peterson (go-ahead two-run single in the 15th)
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Hanser Alberto (4-for-8, RBI)
    (16 votes)
426 votes total Vote Now