The Baltimore Orioles were down to their final out last night before Matt Wieters saved them with a three-run homer, celebrating his 30th birthday in style.
First and foremost, I want to officially welcome Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles to “the 30’s.” I know that when I turned 30 I took some solace in the fact that it seems that all ages are now younger than they used to be. Having said that, I suspect that Wieters’ 30th birthday yesterday is going to go down as a lot more special and a lot more memorable than did mine.
The O’s got a very solid start out of Kevin Gausman last night. Gausman’s line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K. Gausman had a few slight issues with finding the strike zone early in the game, however he found it quick. You don’t strike out six and give up one run over 6.2 innings without locating the zone.
Gausman put two runners in scoring position early on in the first inning with only one out, however a baserunning mistake helped the Orioles out. The runner at third went on contact when Pujols grounded out to third, and was thrown out at home plate. Sometimes you need a bit of good fortune, and the Orioles got it there – or they took advantage of a mistake, to say the least.
Call to the Pen
The game remained scoreless until the last of the seventh, when Escobar’s RBI-single gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead. Anaheim starter Shoemaker shut the potent Orioles’ offense down for the most part. He struck out 12 Oriole hitters in the game, which is tough to do to anyone. Then for once it was someone else’s bullpen that seemed to dominate Oriole bats, as the O’s were kept off the board in the eighth after Anaheim got the lead.
However if there’s one things we’ve learned about these Orioles under Showalter, it’s that they play to the final out. I find it somewhat amusing that some people scoff at that fact a bit, as if it’s cliche. Not everyone plays until the final out, folks. It’s fashionable to say, but in practice a lot of players and teams just pack it in at a certain point in games…
…and one would think that if there’s ever a time to do that, it’s with two outs in the ninth when you’re losing. But you never know what can happen in a game, especially when there’s always the element of Orioles Magic lurking around. Davis singled and Trumbo walked, bringing Wieters to the plate with the tying run in scoring position.
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It’s fine to scoff a bit at the concept of we always play until the final out…that is until it comes into play and kind of works out for you. On his 30th birthday, Wieters launched a 1-0 pitch deep into the Southern California night. The image of Wieters rounding the bases and thrusting the Birds into the lead was straight out of Hollywood. And needless to say, it was quite a way to celebrate a milestone birthday.
As Wieters was rounding the bases the “Big A” was buzzing – with disbelief. It’s moments like that which make baseball great, and while it took until literally the 11th hour, Oriole bats ended up being the difference once again. Wieters himself said as much after the game (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
"With our offense, we always feel we are in the game, especially when you are within a swing. I think everyone in our lineup, one through nine, can drive the ball out. We never feel like we’re out of a game."
Again needless to say, I don’t think that Wieters will forget the fireworks that accompanied his 30th birthday for some time. I celebrated my 30th with a quiet dinner at my parents’ house – the way he celebrated his was one for the ages. Or perhaps better put, one for the Angels.
The Orioles will go for the series sweep this afternoon in Anaheim before they head for Houston. Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Jared Weaver. Game time is set for just after 3:30 PM.