Baltimore Orioles: Throwback Thursday – Chris Davis in DC


I’m going to assume that most readers are at least familiar with the Facebook and Twitter concept of “Throwback Thursday.” In effect, you go into the way, way back machine and post a picture of yourself from years ago. So given that the Baltimore Orioles won’t be playing for another few months, why not bring this feature to Birds Watcher? I can’t say that we’ll do it every week, but it’s something about which to write to say the least.

This week we’ll “throw back” to July 7th, when the Orioles went down the pike to Washington DC to open up a two-game road series with the Washington Nationals. Throngs of Orioles fans made the trek down I-95 or the B/W Parkway to support the Birds “on the road,” and their presence was felt even before the game when a giant O! went up during the national anthem.

Everyone in attendance that night got a special treat of seeing two pitchers who were definitely on their A-game. Chris Tillman and Stephen Strasburg each pitched seven innings and gave up two runs. On numerous occasions, both were able to reach back and garner a big strikeout or ground ball double-play to keep their team in the game. However as often happens when games go to extra innings, it was the bullpens that decided the fate of these two teams on a hot July night in our nation’s capital.

Courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that could have at one point been destined to go into the wee hours of the morning, it was Chris Davis who decided it was time to go home. However neither side would see their beds for some time, even after Davis stepped to the plate. Davis came up in the top of the 11th following a Nelson Cruz single, and smacked a line drive home run into the center field grandstand, thrilling the Orioles fans who had traveled to the game.

But they weren’t done; J.J Hardy homered in the immediate aftermath of the Davis home run, giving the Orioles a three-run lead. Relief pitcher T.J. McFarland even got to take his turn at the plate, which is a rarity in National League games in extra innings. A Nick Markakis RBI-double and a Manny Machado two-run homer later, and the Orioles had an 8-2 lead going to the last of the 11th.

McFarland quickly disposed of what was normally a very potent Washington lineup, allowing only a Bryce Harper walk in the 11th. However the big story of this game was the barrage of runs in the 11th inning, set off by Chris Davis’ homer. However the other aspect of this game which stuck out to me was Buck Showalter ordering an IBB of Bryce Harper following a Ryan Zimmerman double in the 9th inning. That was almost a harbinger of what was to come a few months later, with Showalter IBBing the winning run on base against Detroit in the ALDS. It showed that Buck wasn’t afraid to manage, something that Orioles fans already knew of course.

Ultimately every win is big, but that was about as uplifting a victory as the Orioles could have recorded given the fact that it was on the road in enemy territory. Furthermore it showed the quickly-forming clutch nature of this team in that they always got what was necessary down the stretch in order to win. For more on this Orioles 2014 memory on Throwback Thursday, check out my game recap from the next morning.