Third Time’s the Charm


4 hours and 8 minutes later, the O’s win! What a freakin game. Did anyone, at the start of the game, settle down on the couch and think “well, this game is gonna be a realllll good one”? No? I didn’t think so. Obviously, games can be good games a lot of the time like if your team kills the other team, your team comes back and wins, or even when it’s a close game and your team loses. Those are all examples of good games.

But tonight’s game is a whole different story. Tonight we didn’t witness just a good game, we witnessed an epic game. I can’t remember the last game I watched that was like this. The closest memory I have was the 10 run deficit the O’s overcame in 2 innings to beat the Red Sox. That was more epic than this game, at least to me, but this one is definitely up there in epicness.

So, here’s the story: Arrieta is on the mound against the Mariners’ Pineda. As we all know, Arrieta came into the game with 3 straight wins and has really been getting good command. Pineda is a young guy for the Mariners who has a great arm. During the first few innings, I was worried that this guy was basically unhittable. But, both of there problems are pitch count. Pineda has yet to go 6 complete innings and Arrieta doesn’t do that very often. Arrieta had more than 7 full counts in this game!

They were both on their game tonight. Arrieta got 6 strikeouts in 6 innings, including 3 in one inning. His “bad inning” was the 2nd where he walked Olivo and gave up a homer to Kennedy. He only gave up 4 hits and the 2 runs and that was it. That’s a very solid start. Pineda was a close second. He also fanned 6 but gave up 7 hits and 3 runs. He also gave up a homer, to J.J. Hardy on Hardy’s first night and first at-bat back with the team (he went 4 for 5 with a walk, so he was on base every time. Man it’s gonna be great having him back in the line-up). So, in the battle of the starters, Arrieta escaped with this one.

The Mariners went up 2-0. Then, Hardy hit his solo shot to make it 2-1. In the 6th, Vladdy and Luke singled followed by a 2 RBI double by Adam Jones (he had TWO doubles tonight) to take the lead at 3-2.

But, it turned out it wasn’t about the starters, it was all about the bullpen. This is scary because the O’s bullpen is pretty terrible. Gonzo came in to relieve Arrieta in the 7th. Remember how awesome he has been (batters went 0 for 26 against him until tonight)? Well, he had an off night. He got 2 outs before allowing a single, a bunt single, and an RBI single by Figgins. Smoak was then given an intended free pass. This brought in Koji with men on the corners. Olivo hit an infield single allowing Suzuki to score, making the score 4-3 Mariners.

Are you tired yet? I sure was by this point but we were only halfway through the game! The bottom of the 8th rolls around and it’s time for some magic again. D Lee walked, Vladdy singled, and Luuuuuke got the RBI single to tie the game up at 4. Boy is this exciting?! Then, Adam Jones singled to score another run so the O’s take the lead!

Top of the 9th, Kevin Gregg comes in to get the save with his stupid sunglasses on. He gives up a lead-off single to Saunders because, remember, he loves to make it interesting. And interesting did he make it! The following 2 batters hit ground balls to advance Saunders to third. Then that pesky Smoak gets an RBI single to tie the game. We’re going to the bottom of the 9th! Hardy gets walked and B-Rob sac flys to the pitcher to advance Hardy to scoring position. Nicky Markakis gets a single and for some godforsaken reason, 3B coach Russell sends Hardy home. This was a short single here folks. And Hardy had slowed down A LOT because he, like me and every other person on this planet, thought he would be staying at safe. Nope. Russell waved him home and he was out at the plate by a few seconds. Terrible call.

We go to extra innings and Jim Johnson gets a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the 10th, Adam doubles again but no one scores. JJ gets another 1-2-3 in the 11th, a great comeback night for him cause he’s struggled a bit lately. In the bottom of the 11th, Hardy gets on base again, this time by singling, and B-Rob sac flys to the pitcher again to get Hardy to 2nd. But, again, no one scores.

It’s the 12th inning and Jeremy Accardo comes in. He gives up a single but gets a double play so the bases are empty with 2 outs. He walks Olivo and then gives up a double to Cust. Olivo goes home and is safe but the ump called him out due to a perfect throw by Nick and a good block by Fox. Olivo was safe but the way the play and the tag was made, the ump would call him out every time. The game still tied in the bottom of the 12th, the O’s load the bases with 2 outs but ice cold B-Rob strikes out to end the inning. Damnit.

Here we go, it’s the 13th and Accardo is still in. Wilson doubles. Uh oh. The other Wilson hits an RBI single to take the 6-5 lead and still no outs. Accardo gets the 3 outs though with no more damage. At this point, I almost turned the TV off. I thought that there was no way in hell the O’s were gonna come back for a 3rd time and win the game, especially with how bad their offense is and how bad they are at home.
Let’s just say, I’m glad I kept watching.
Markakis singles. D Lee strikes out. Jake Fox singles and Nick goes to second. Felix Pie hits an RBI single to tie the game at 6 with only one out and Fox at third. Jones grounds into a fielders choice that was hit to the SS. Fox runs home. The SS throws the ball to Olivo who has to come in front of the plate to make the catch, and dive backwards to make the tag in time. Fox is called out and there are 2 outs. But, Wieters comes through again with RISP getting the walk-off single to win the game.

There you have it. I got excited as I was typing that recap! The O’s needed this one. Can you imagine if they lost? Not only would the team be physically shot, they would be so emotionally and confidence-ly depleted. They end their 4-game losing streak and win a VERY close game that went to a few extra innings. It was a HUGE win that I think will move their momentum in the right direction.

Just look at the box score! 20 hits for the game and 7 runs scored. Markakis went 3 for 6. Derrek Lee struck out 3 times but was also walked 3 times (twice intentionally and I have NO idea why). Vladdy went 3 for 4. Luke Scott went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Pie went 2 for 3 with an RBI. AJ went 3 for 6 with 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, and an intentional walk. Matt Wieters went 2 for 7 with the walk-off single. And, as I said before, Hardy had a great welcome back night going 4 for 5 with an RBI and a walk.
Seriously, this is the greatest offense we have seen all season. Clearly. This is what the front office imagined when they put this line-up together! Scratch that, they imagined about half of this sort of offense. 20 hits is ridiculous and won’t happen very often. This game started as a pitcher’s duel but clearly finished as a batter’s duel.

I feel very good things coming from this win. I don’t know why, it’s just a feeling I have.
The only bad side to this game: Brian Roberts and Mark Reynolds going 0 for 5 and 0 for 6, respectively. Roberts was awesome at the beginning of the season but he’s in a bad slump right now. He should be able to heat back up but we need our lead-off hitter to get on base, that’s his job. Mark Reynolds on the other hand was a risk taken by the O’s front office and it bombed. I know he strikes out a lot but he only has 3 HRs on the season. He’s supposed to either strike out or hit HRs when he’s at the plate. Now, all he does is strike out. I’ve come to expect nothing from him when he’s at bat.

This game sucked and rocked at the same time. Every time the Mariners scored and we lost the lead, I became extremely frustrated. When Gregg blew the save and when they scored in the top of the 13th, I was enraged. However, every time the O’s fought back to regain the lead, I was on cloud 9. Clapping and yelling and dancing around. My suitemates in my suite at school probably think I’m insane. The greatest celebration came at the end. Felix Pie’s (also nicknamed Boston Cream as in Boston Cream Pie) celebration as he scored the winning run and was called safe by the ump says it all (by the way I love Pie and his celebrations and wish he could be a part of the everyday line-up).

As I said before, this game was epic.