Walk-Off Wednesday: Matt Wieters defeats the Pirates with one swing of the bat
By Mike Franz
The Baltimore Orioles are known for magical walk-off moments each season in Camden Yards. The 2014 season was no exception to this. On May 1st, catcher Matt Wieters gave the Orioles the walk-off 6-5 victory over the Pirates and the mini sweep over Pittsburgh.
After handling the Pirates in Game 1 of the doubleheader by a score of 5-1,the Orioles were in a dog fight with the Pirates in Game 2. This game was significant to Orioles’ fans because it was Manny Machado‘s first game of the 2014 season after suffering a knee injury late in 2013.
Unfortunately, Machado did not record a hit in his five plate appearances that night. Wieters, Adam Jones, and Nelson Cruz recorded two hits a piece. After coming back from being down 4-0, the Orioles trailed yet again in the seventh inning by one run. Nick Markakis changed that when he stepped up to the plate in the bottom half of the inning. He blasted a shot into the right field seats that went about six rows deep to tie the score up at 5-5.
That score remained unchanged as Baltimore failed to push another run across the plate in the eighth inning with the bases loaded. Thanks to the talent of relievers Darren O’Day and Tommy Hunter, Pittsburgh’s attempts to regain the lead were futile and the score was 5-5 headed into the bottom half of the 10th inning.
Wieters led off the inning for the Orioles, and after taking the first pitch for ball 1, he went up to connect with a 90 mph fastball that was parallel to his shoulders. He turned on it and drove the ball into right field. Orioles Magic appeared that evening as the ball hooked just inside of the right field foul pole, giving Baltimore the 6-5 walk-off victory over Pittsburgh.
As Wieters rounded third and began heading for home, he took off his helmet and “bowled” it into the crowd of Orioles players surrounding home plate waiting to congratulate him.
In a season that was cut short for Wieters with his season-ending Tommy John Surgery, this was one of the few high points for the Orioles’ All-Star catcher.