CHICAGO - Nolan Reimold figured he would stay on the bench until Tuesday night’s game at U.S. Cellular Field, but manager Buck Showalter used him as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and kept him in left field.
Reimold responded with a home run and RBI single. Not bad for someone who began the night listed among the reserves, partly because of cramping in his left hamstring.
“Yeah, I think it was just precautionary keeping me out,” Reimold said. “I thought I was going to play the next day, so he gave me two days. It all worked out well. And the hammy feels good.”
The Orioles had five hits with runners in scoring position in the 10th inning after failing miserably for most of the young season. They were 6-for-16 on the night.
“We had a lot of guys on base but couldn’t seem to drive them in,” he said. “Late in the game, we were able to keep battling and finally come through when it counted.
“We’ve been battling back for a while. I don’t think we’re ever out of the game. Top to bottom, everybody can drive the ball, hit the ball hard out of the park. Top to bottom we have a pretty solid lineup.”
Reimold said the Orioles always believed they could come back, even in the eighth inning, which began with Chicago leading, 4-2, before Matt Wieters hit his first home run of the night.
“We were only down two runs,” Reimold said. “It just takes a bloop and a blast. We were able to get two of them, tie the game up and than we got guys on and got them in extra innings when it really counted.”
All three of Reimold’s home runs this season have come in the top of the ninth inning.
“I’ll take them anytime,” he said. “Anybody likes to hit a home run anytime.”
Reimold caught Alejandro De Aza’s fly ball in the seventh and flipped over the railing in foul territory, someone holding onto the ball. A run scored, and Reimold later questioned his judgment on the play.
“You play him a little in and over,” Reimold said. “I saw him go up and sprinted over. I knew it was in. If I could have got behind the ball or something, I probably would have had a play at home. I didn’t realize I was going to hit the fence and flip over it like I did. That low fence kind of did that to me. In retrospect, I probably should have let it drop.”
Here’s a little something from Adam Jones:
“We didn’t quit. The ninth-inning, their closer coming up, throwing hard. Nolan got something up, hit it out. I got something up, hit it out. Once we tied the game and went to extra innings, we knew this is our game. Let’s win this game. And we had a hell of a 10th inning with six runs. I’m pumped right now, still pretty pumped.
“A couple years ago, if we were down 4-2 on the road, we were probably losing 4-2. It’s a different team, we’re a different breed right now. We’re just enjoying taking one game at a time and not do anything else but play our style of baseball.”
Jones was impressed with Jake Arrieta.
“He threw the crap out of the ball,” Jones said. “We had some opportunities to put some runs on the board early and were unsuccessful. We kept chipping away and he kept us in the game. As a starting pitcher, that’s all we ask. Just kept us in the game and kept us close.”
And what does Jones think of Reimold?
“He’s feeling good,” Jones said. “We’re trying to get him in a crazy attitude of, ‘Who gives a...’ And it’s slowly starting to work. He’s a work in progress. We’re really trying to get him to maximize his opportunity. He’s one of the most talented athletes I’ve seen. He’s fast, strong. He just has to have that mindset that he can do it, and he can.”
Now here’s Matt Wieters:
“We’ve been battling every game just to make it close, so it’s nice to finally have a big inning and put some things together. Fortunately, we’ve been able to get some contributions from different guys at different times, which is why we’ve been able to win some games, but it’s alays nice when everything clicks.
“It’s sort of like a snowball effect. Once you get some runs going and maybe you quit squeezing the bat as tight, it seems to always come a little bit easier.
“This year, nothing’s really come easy so far. We’ve had close games late and we’ve had to tie some games up and go extras, and we’ve had some extra-inning losses, so it’s been a lot of hard work so far this year.”
Wieter wasn’t thinking grand slam in the 10th.
“It’s not in your mind,” he said. “Just trying to extend that lead a little bit, because anything can happen in this game. You’re confident with J.J. (Jim Johnson) coming in, but it’s nice to have a few more runs to play with.”
And finally, here’s Chris Davis:
“We had chances early in the game to score runs. I came up earlier in the game with two runners on and less than two outs and didn’t even put the ball in play, so that kind of stuff even early in the season when you’re trying to get in the groove and get a feel for your teammates and trying to put things together, those are the things you’ve got to do. You have to get your runners in early in the game, especially when your pitcher’s battling like the way Jake was. Things kind of built up and in the last few innings, we were able to unleash a little bit.
“I don’t think any of us ever thought about quitting. When we walked into the dugout later in the game, we were a little deflated, but there were still guys rallying around each other, saying, ‘Come on let’s go.’ These are the kind of games that prove what kind of team you are and they help you out later in the season when you have to play close games in ones that really count.
“The error that I had, right before (Paul) Konerko hit the double, it was huge. That’s on me I have to catch the ball. Jake was out there battling, doing a great job. Those are little mistakes that can happen. It’s just lack of focus. I felt bad for that, but we were able to battle back and put up some runs and get the win.
“When we started hitting home runs, it was like, ‘Is this about to happen?’ But it’s one of those things. With our team, it’s not a selfish effort. We’re going to stand up for one another. We’re going to have each other’s back and we’re going to keep battling until our last out, and that’s what we did. This is a young team, but we have some veteran guys mixed in who have been around a little bit. I think you see that energy from the young guys. I think you saw that play out tonight.”