The 2022 Baltimore Orioles are not like past years during the rebuild. They are hitting better. They are pitching better. They are winning more games. They are also showing a high level of resilience, which has not gone unnoticed and is very important for good baseball teams.
On Tuesday, July 5, fresh off a walk-off hit by a pitch to win on Independence Day against the Texas Rangers, the Baltimore Orioles picked up their second straight walk-off win, beating the Rangers by a score of 10-9 in extra innings.
What makes this one so important is not that it was their second in a row. It’s that, over the course of the game, the Baltimore Orioles blew three leads at different points of the game and still rallied to win. That might not have happened in past years, and it’s what clinched a series win for the Birds this time. Trey Mancini said it best:
"“Sometimes we seemed to drop out of these games, but not this team in 2022. We’re never out of a game, I feel like, and that game was the epitome of who this team is. We never gave up. We give up some leads at times, but we’re always going to battle back.”"
After the Orioles built themselves a 4-0 lead in the second inning, that lead was down to 4-3 by the end of the 5th, and when Mitch Garver homered in the top of the 7th, the lead was entirely gone, with the game tied 4-4, with Keegan Akin serving up the game-tying homer.
When the bottom half of the 7th came along, the Baltimore Orioles shook that one off and quickly scored three more runs, thanks to Anthony Santander and Ramón Urías hitting RBI singles. However, with one swing of the bat in the 8th, Nathaniel Lowe took Nick Vespi yard, with his three-run home run tying the game up 7-7.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Orioles took another lead, with Ryan McKenna hitting a solo home run to put them ahead 8-7. As was typical for this game, that lead went away quickly, with a two-run home run by Corey Seager putting the Rangers ahead 9-8 in the 9th, with Félix Bautista giving it up.
Entering the bottom of the 9th, the Orioles would have to rally again, this time to avoid the loss they did, with Rougned Odor taking Joe Barlow’s yard to tie the game. With McKenna on base in the 10th, Cedric Mullins brought him home with a double, securing a strange but thrilling walk-off win.
Why do I say strange? Because according to STATS, the Orioles are the only team in AL/NL history to allow a game-tying or go-ahead home run in each one of the final three innings of a game and still find a way to pull off the victory. Mancini spoke about the offense getting the job done, saying this:
"“It was a rare game where the offense had to carry us. The pitching has done such a good job this year, so it felt good as an offense to pick them up a little bit tonight.”"
While the Orioles are not quite a contender yet, they are showing traits of a contending team. The resilience they show when getting knocked down is a trait they need if they wish to compete for playoff spots, world series appearances, and the ability of one unit.
In this case, it’s the offense; to pick up a struggling unit, the bullpen, and carrying the team to a win that day is also crucial because not often will all systems be firing on all cylinders. Mark my words, this team will be good soon.