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Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles rescued their road trip at the last minute

The O’s were four outs away from a frustrating series sweep in Milwaukee before some late-inning heroics sent them home on a positive note.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Milwaukee Brewers
Good show, Gunnar.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Just when you think you’re out...the Orioles pull you back in.

Going into the eighth inning of yesterday’s O’s game, the vibes in Birdland were perhaps the worst they’ve been all year. The Orioles’ bats had been completely shut down by a journeyman pitcher with a 4.94 ERA, continuing a recent trend of offensive woes. They were in danger of being swept for the first time all season, getting manhandled by a good but not great Brewers team. Every roster flaw was magnified; every player seemed as if he was in a never-ending slump. An inevitable collapse was just around the corner.

Then, in the span of about five minutes, everything changed. The good vibes returned. As the Orioles struck for a furious eighth-inning rally to grab victory from the jaws of defeat, they reminded their fans that these aren’t your older brother’s Orioles. This team has the third-best record in baseball for a reason. They’re the most talented O’s club we’ve seen in the better part of a decade. They may look flat at times, as all teams do, but they’re winning a heck of a lot more games than they’re losing. Reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.

The Birds’ comeback win means they still haven’t been swept in a series since Adley Rutschman made his MLB debut more than a year ago. The longest losing streak they’ve ever had in that span is four in a row, which happened just once. They finished this road trip with a 3-3 record, and now return to Baltimore to take on the second-worst team in baseball, the Royals, giving them a good opportunity to build some positive momentum.

I understand the frustration when the Orioles go into mini-skids. This fan base has had to endure so many years of terrible baseball that a lot of folks will always be skeptical whether the team can enjoy any kind of sustained success. Until the O’s are spraying champagne on each other at the end of the season, some fans will be holding their breath, wondering when the other shoe will drop.

It’s always possible that their skepticism will prove to be justified, and that the 2023 Orioles won’t be able to keep up their success. But so far, they’re no fluke. And I haven’t seen any shoes dropping just yet.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! The lone player in O’s history with with a June 9 birthday is outfielder John Andreoli (33), who played 23 games for the 2018 Orioles. It’s also the 43rd birthday of Mike Fontenot, an Orioles first round draft pick in 2001 who the Birds traded (for Sammy Sosa) before he reached the majors.

On this day in 1990, the Orioles’ original “Moose,” Randy Milligan, crushed three home runs in the first four innings en route to a 10-1 rout of the Yankees at Memorial Stadium. Milligan swatted a three-run homer off Chuck Cary in the first, a two-run shot against Andy Hawkins in the second, and a solo blast off Hawkins in the fourth. Milligan had a chance to complete a four-homer game, but drew a walk in his final plate appearance in the seventh.

Random Orioles game of the day

On June 9, 1963, the Orioles ended up on the wrong end of a 14-inning marathon in Baltimore, losing to the Red Sox, 3-2. The O’s scored both of their runs in the first inning on a Boog Powell double, then were kept off the board for 13 straight frames, getting only three runners into scoring position during the span. Still, they carried a 2-1 lead into the ninth before Chuck Schilling’s two-out RBI single off Dick Hall tied it, and Schilling struck again with the go-ahead hit five innings later, another two-out RBI single off Stu Miller.

The loss dropped the 32-23 Orioles out of first place in the American League, half a game behind the victorious White Sox. They would never return to the top spot, ultimately finishing the season a distant 18.5 games behind.