About yesterday and last night

BOSTON - I made it to my Southwest gate, proving once again that sleep is vastly overrated. However, a belt is not, and my jeans almost hit the floor in the security line.

No need to thank me for the early-morning visual.

I'd like to point out that my road record improved to 8-2. I won't take full credit for the Orioles' surge into first place in the American League East, but I'd like to think that I had a little something to do with it.

Just pitching in, of course. And it all starts with pitching.

Catcher Matt Wieters really is an expert at handling a staff. Look what he did with Chris Davis yesterday.

What did Wieters say to Davis as the designated hitter readied to pitch the 16th inning?

"Don't blow it out. Just throw strikes. That was pretty much all I said to him," Wieter replied.

"That's probably the easiest 89-91 I've ever seen. He came out and threw strikes and had a little movement on it. That was pretty impressive.

"I knew we had no other option. We were running low. There were a lot of position players getting loose real quick. It's good that he was DHing, and that he was able to come in and pitch. He threw strikes. That's what we needed him to do."

That's probably the most impressive stat to me. Davis threw 14 of his 22 pitches for strikes.

Well, he also held the Red Sox scoreless over two innings. Another impressive stat.

"We're tired, but we'll get some rest and be ready to go (tonight)," Wieters said.

"It's a nice win. It was a tough, hard-fought game, and one you don't want to lose. It was nice to get that win and get back home."

No kidding. Imagine playing 13 and 17 innings in two of the three games and ending up with losses. That's gotta sting.

Yesterday's game lasted so long - eight minutes shy of the Orioles' record of 6 hours, 15 minutes - shortstop J.J. Hardy was overcome with hunger and still had two innings to go.

"I was starving around the 15th inning," he said. "I got a bar in me, and then Chris Davis coming in and getting a win, it was a lot of fun."

What was Hardy thinking when Davis emerged from the bullpen?

"Let's see what kind of stuff he's got," Hardy replied. "Every time he warms up, he's acting like he's pitching. It was actually good. He had pretty good stuff. I saw a fastball about 91 mph, good changeups."

I asked Davis if he struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a changeup, as the scoreboard showed.

"It was a splitter, Roch," he replied, turning away in mock disgust.

Of all the guys who could have been called upon to pitch yesterday, I'm so glad it was Davis. His sense of humor greatly enhanced the moment.

"I think we dumped some beer on him," Hardy said. "We gave him a shaving cream pie in the face. We had lots of fun with him."

Hardy is clearly having fun. Asked if he wants to pitch next, he smiled and said, "If I hadn't been getting treatment on my shoulder and getting ice, I'd have been raising my hand for sure."

Are people starting to notice the Orioles, who were so casually dismissed all winter and spring?

"Hopefully not, hopefully not," Hardy said. "Hopefully, if people are underestimating us, that's going for us. I don't know. Maybe. We'll see."

Adam Jones hit the big three-run homer off former Orioles outfielder Darnell McDonald in the 17th inning, but everyone was talking about Davis after the game.

"He got in and got 1-2-3," Jones said. "When he struck out Saltalamacchia, I was just laughing. Not at Saltalamacchia, but that he threw a changeup."

It was a splitter, Adam. Just ask him.

Yes, they're having fun.

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