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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles ruined the Red Sox again

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The O’s took two of three games from Boston in a series the Sox absolutely needed to win, knocking them into a Wild Card tie. You love to see it.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

You know, legend has it that if you close your eyes and listen to the wind whistle through Camden Yards, you can hear the faintest whisper of Robert Andino’s voice as he says his immortal words to Red Sox fans.

That Andino magic was alive and well in Baltimore this week, 10 years after the utility man became an unforgettable name in Birdland. While Andino’s big hit in that epic 2011 finale officially knocked Boston out of postseason contention, this year’s version of the Red Sox aren’t quite dead yet, with three games still to play in Washington. But they’re reeling. They’re collapsing. And once again, you can thank the Orioles, who just took two out of three games in a must-win series for the Sox that they likely expected to be a cakewalk. Tyler Young recapped the Orioles’ latest stunning victory. It was a fun one.

With the loss, the Sox dropped into a tie with the upstart Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot. The M’s, who didn’t play yesterday, were surely watching the O’s game with extreme interest, and the Birds delivered a masterful victory to help out their brethren on the other side of the country. The Mariners now have a chance to snap their 19-year playoff drought, the longest in the four major professional sports, if they take care of business against the Angels this weekend and/or the Sox slip up in D.C. We’ve got some potential chaos on our hands.

Kudos to the Orioles for making it happen. And they’re not done playing meaningful games. After wrapping up their home slate for 2021 last night — finishing with a 27-54 record at Camden Yards — they head to Toronto for the season’s final three games. The Blue Jays enter play tonight just one game behind the Sox and M’s for the second Wild Card. Like the Red Sox, they’ll be desperate to rack up some wins against the Orioles. But, after what the O’s just did to the Sox, the Jays better know not to take them lightly.

It’s going to be a wild final weekend of the season, one way or another. I am so here for it.

Links

Mountcastle homers, Wells was dealing as O's take series - Steve Melewski
Melewski recaps the Orioles’ successful series, including the fact that three O’s rookie lefty starters held the Sox to just three earned runs. I wish these guys had pitched this well all year, but hey, better late than never.

Elias on coaching staff, starting pitching, free agents and more - School of Roch
The Orioles GM talked with the media yesterday about pretty much every topic you’d be interested in. I always enjoy hearing his thoughts, even if he’s an expert at saying a lot of words to give no specific details about his plans.

As another 100-loss season winds down, Orioles eye top-ranked farm system as a source of pride and promise - Baltimore Sun
Better days are ahead, you guys. Even if we’ve had to sit through a lot of crummy baseball while we wait.

Red Sox 2, Orioles 6: That can't happen - Over the Monster
How are our colleagues at SBN’s Red Sox site handling things right now? ...Oh.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And let’s all wish a very happy 27th birthday to Cedric Mullins, who’s wrapping up one of the most incredible individual seasons in Orioles history. Mullins last week became the first-ever Oriole to notch 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in a single year, and earlier this week was unanimously voted the 2021 Most Valuable Oriole. He’ll also get some down-ballot consideration in the AL MVP vote, too. Happy birthday, Cedric. Thanks for giving fans a fun reason to watch the Orioles this year, and hopefully you’ll be a mainstay for contending O’s teams in the near future.

Former Orioles born on this day include right-hander Mitch Atkins (36), lefty Chuck McElroy (54), and the late outfielder Bob Boyd (b. 1919, d. 2004).

The O’s have played two postseason games on this date in history, and both of them went smashingly. In 1996, the Orioles trounced heavily favored Cleveland, 10-4, in the opener of the Division Series. In front of nearly 48,000 fans at Camden Yards, the O’s pulled out to an early lead on a Brady Anderson leadoff homer and a B.J. Surhoff second-inning blast, then put the game away with a five-run sixth inning capped by a Bobby Bonilla grand slam. Surhoff added a second homer for good measure. David Wells pitched into the seventh for the Orioles, and four relievers combined for 2.1 scoreless innings to finish it off.

In 1997, the O’s again jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the Division Series, this time against the Mariners in Seattle. The Birds continued their ownage of M’s ace and Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, whom they had already beaten twice that year. Orioles manager Davey Johnson unconventionally stacked his lineup with righties by benching some of his biggest stars — including Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar, and Surhoff — and it worked, with the O’s tallying five runs against the Big Unit, including a Geronimo Berroa homer. Mike Mussina worked seven strong innings, holding the Mariners to two runs in a 9-3 victory.

Among notable regular-season games on this date, the Orioles won a walkoff against the Tigers in 1969 to send them into the postseason on a high note. Mark Belanger’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th made a winner of Jim Palmer, who worked all 10 frames and allowed just one run, finishing with a 16-4 record. The Orioles, who had long since clinched the division title, wrapped up their regular season with a 109-53 mark, still the best in franchise history.