Manager Buck Showalter was asked about the Orioles’ refusal to become deflated after Torii Hunter’s game-tying three-run homer off Jason Berken in the eighth inning. It led to my favorite quote of the night:
“I looked for that,” he said. “It’s part of playing, not only in the big leagues, but in the American League. Big, strong, hairy guys here. They hit it where the grass doesn’t grow. And that’s part of playing in this division, this league. That’s part of it.
“We’ve got some big guys, too. Maybe not as hairy.”
My runner-up is this one, when Showalter explained why he left Arrieta in the game after the one-out walk, and how he brought Berken into the discussion:
“He was pitching well enough to continue,” Showalter said. “It’s just like sending Berken back out there after the home run. I want to see how he responds, and he responded well. You want to see these guys smell it, sniff it, finish it. Everybody has those moments. It’s how you respond to adversity. That was impressive on all their parts.”
Showalter never instructed Corey Patterson to lay down a sacrifice bunt after Matt Wieters’ leadoff double in the ninth. Maybe it was a test, which Patterson passed with flying colors. He advanced pinch-runner Julio Lugo to third base, and Cesar Izturis singled to win the game.
“He looked over at me and I said, ‘Do what you’ve got to do,’” Showalter said. “There’s some trust involved there, too. They’ve got to take that responsibility. At the end of your at-bat, either that run’s across the plate or he’s at third base. You do what you’ve got to do. There’s no sign there, and he did what he had to do. And people are doing that for what, per se, is a nine-hole hitter.
“The things that it causes them to do defensively makes Izzy a completely different hitter. If they get Izzy, they’re probably going to walk Robbie and Nick. We like our chances.”
Showalter says he came into this job “completely open-minded.” He wasn’t thinking about 3-0 or 0-3.
“Nothing’s as bad as it seems and nothing’s as good as it seems,” he said. “Like I said before, I’ve been fortunate enough to be around some players who won 100 games in a year when I was the manager, and we had periods when it seemed like we weren’t ever going to win another game. Nothing’s as bad or as good as it seems.
“I tried to come into it with a real open mind about it. There’s enough track-record players here that you know they’re better than that, but things snowball. We all know that.”
I like the way this snowball is rolling.
“They’ve had enough negative, and they’d be the first to tell you it’s self-inflicted,” he said. “I just step back and watch them over at first base knowing how challenging and painful this season has been so far. So, to see them have three days to feel good about themselves makes me feel good for them.”