My head hurts.
Manager Buck Showalter looked to be in better spirits after his club rallied for two runs off Mariners closer Brandon League in the bottom of the 13th inning to take a 7-6 victory.
If you’re going to spend all night at the ballpark and burn up your bullpen, at least win the game.
“It’s kind of apropos,” Showalter said. “It seemed like our guys made some good pitches and they found a way to get them in there.We had a lot of opportunities. We just couldn’t cash them in. It was tough. But I was glad to see them get a result from what they put into it tonight.
“You have a bunch of LOBs, you can look at both sides of it. You’re getting them out there.”
J.J. Hardy made a triumphant return to the lineup with four hits, including a home run, a walk and a run scored.
“Welcome back, J.J.” Showalter said. “I’ll probably give him a couple days off now.”
Not a chance.
“He had a great game,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of a reminder that he was our shortstop and what we’ve been missing for a long period of time. He was great. He had a great game. I will go back and, being the text master that I am, I’ll fire off a text to Gary Allenson and Bobby Dickerson that they were right. He was ready.”
Felix Pie came off the bench to collect two hits, drive in a run and score the game-winner.
“He plays a role in a lot of our games when he doesn’t start,” Showalter said. “He made a great play earlier, moving on a ball, and I’ve been so proud of Felix’s attitude through all this because he’s been a great teammate and he keeps working hard every day. To see him get a result for it is gratifying for all of us.”
Pie got into Justin Smoak’s face after lowering a shoulder into the Mariners’ first baseman and causing both dugouts and bullpens to empty. Smoak made the tag and Pie made a big deal of it. It was quite entertaining.
“It’s kind of how the game’s changed a little bit,” Showalter said.”I don’t know, I’m a little biased about it. I learned my lesson a long time ago when I was playing first and I went to tag a guy and he knocked the ball in the stands, so you don’t assume anything. I like the way Felix handled it. I’ll leave it at that. The game has changed. You’re just supposed to stop and let everybody tag you. He was blocking his path to first base. What am I missing?”
Asked about a possible breakdown in communication between Hardy and third base coach John Russell in the bottom of the ninth, resulting in Hardy being an easy out at the plate, Showalter said, “I didn’t quite see it that way, but I’ll take a look at it. I’m more looking at the ball. I don’t know about their communication. I’d have to look at it, but you obviously have a few times. John does a good job for us and J.J.’s a good baserunner.”
The Orioles needed this win after being swept by the Rays, but they get reigning AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez tomorrow night.
“Tomorrow, though, it gets thrown out,” Showalter said. “You’re as good, in a lot of cases, as your starting pitcher. I really don’t think Felix Hernandez really cares a whole lot about what one game might means, and hopefully Chris Tillman feels the same way. But obviously, we hope to get as deep as we can tomorrow with our starter because we used up a lot of bullets in the bullpen to get a W, and that’s why it would have been frustrating to have to use that many people and not win. We’ll see. Momentum can be fleeting when you’re playing at this level, but we’ll see.”
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail passed me on the stairs as I headed back to the press box. He was on his way to Showalter’s office to discuss a possible roster move tomorrow that would bring another reliever to Baltimore.
“It’s something we looked at,” Showalter said. “Obviously, (Jason) Berken’s available, and Clay (Rapada). We were looking at the number of innings we could potentially pitch out of the ‘pen. We’ll see. It’s something we’ll re-address again when I get back down there.”