The debate over the Snafu at Second Base has subsided. That will happen when you win that game in 12 innings, and win again the next night, as the Baltimore Orioles did.
The snafu occurred in the 7th inning of Tuesday’s game, when Ryan Flaherty was slow to cover second, leading J.J. Hardy to bypass the force and throw late to first base, allowing the tie run to score. Flaherty took a lot of heat, but it was reported that he had told Hardy he might not be able to get to the bag quickly enough, since he’d been shifted too far to the right of second base against the lefthanded hitting Josh Hamilton.
Most people, including myself, believed Hardy still had time to toss to Flaherty coming across second base, because Albert Pujols was the runner. Brian Matusz was the collateral damage in the situation, because the run that scored from third, Mike Trout, was his inherited runner, and he had done his job by inducing the ground ball from Hamilton.
In any event, on and on went the game, into the 10th, 11th and 12th innings, before Manny Machado sent more than 36,882 tired people home with a game-winning homer. Machado became a defensive hero in the fourth inning tonight with a truly spectacular, lunging catch and whirling throw to first to retire Pujols from several yards into foul ground near the third base dugout.
Machado’s well-reputed cannon, worth the price of admission, made the play possible. He backhanded the grounder moving into foul ground, and had time to gather himself and get the throw off across his body while still running away from the play. He didn’t even look like he threw it full strength.
Adam Jones‘ 11th, first-inning home run of the season gave the Orioles a quick, 2-0 lead and made him the Major League leader in first-inning homers. Toronto’s Jose Bautista and the Chicago White Sox Jose Abreu are behind Adam, who now has 21 homers and 67 RBI.
The hard part seems to be shaking Toronto, which beat Boston again last night and trails the Orioles by 2 1/2, four in the loss column. Things are interesting now. But don’t waste any good fingernail chewing yet. Everyone tempted to live and die by each game should bear this in mind. The Orioles have six home games in a row against the Yankees and Jays in mid-September, and they finish out September with four games at Yankee Stadium and three at Rogers Centre. Those seven games are the season.
It would still be wise not to forget the six games the O’s have left against Tampa Bay, now only eight games back.