Did manager Buck Showalter call for the bunt with Adam Jones at the plate, Nick Markakis at third base and two outs in the bottom of the 11th?
“Yeah, we’ve been working on that,” he said, grinning.
“No. You’ve got good players making good decisions. A lot of opportunities there to throw in the towel and we kept grinding. I’m proud of them. We refused to give in there and it was fun to watch. It wasn’t always fun to watch, but it was fun to watch.
“I love it. I think it’s a great play. We need 90 feet there and there’s a lot of ways to get it. You like putting the pressure on them. In any sport, when you put professional athletes where they have to operate at a speed that they’re not comfortable with, when the game speeds up, that’s when mistakes are made on both sides of the ball. When you can put another team in that position, you take a chance.
“I say all the time, as far as umpires’ decisions, there are a lot of situations there during a game when you can make it not matter. We had three go against us tonight that we overcame. We’ll have some go our way, too.”
The Orioles are 7-1 at home under Showalter, including four walk-off wins.
“It’s a mentality you like to get, that good things can happen if you keep grinding,” Showalter said. You’ve got to earn it. Nicky had a big base hit there, obviously, and Wiggy got the job done. I thought Felix had a great bunt in a pressure situation. Those are things I remember. He also got a hit there but he didn’t get credit for it. And Robby was barely out on a swinging bunt. A lot of things happened to set up those situations, good at-bats.”
It was pointed out to Showalter that the Orioles are taking the initiative.
“Exactly,” he said. “It’s being proactive instead of reactive. Let’s make somebody react to us a little bit instead of constantly having to...it’s kind of like offense and defensive in football. Not that mentality of football, but, OK, they had their chance. Now let’s do something where we can put some pressure on them. Instead of always reacting to what they do to us, let’s make them react and take the initiative.”