The Orioles are 5-0 in games that last 13 innings or more, which borders on the ridiculous.
Asked if he’s ever seen anything like this, manager Buck Showalter replied, “I’d have to look back through it. I’m a pretty old guy. I doubt it.
“You know, it’s not a team that’s sitting there going, ‘Woe is me. Let’s get this over.’ They grind it. They put in so much effort. Like a basketball team. It takes so much intensity to get back into that game that sometimes it’s tough to get over the hump to actually win it. They were able to do that again tonight.”
The bullpen pitched nine scoreless innings.
“Took everybody to the limit,” Showalter said. “I wasn’t going to pitch Jimmy (Johnson) tonight. We were getting close to Chris Davis time.”
Johnson actually warmed up, but once he sat back down, his night was finished.
“One of the most amazing things about the whole night was the night (Matt) Wieters had behind the plate,” Showalter said. “I was hoping he would get on the last time so I could pinch-run for him.”
Zach Britton, optioned after the game, was charged with four earned runs (seven total) and eight hits in five innings. He retired nine of 10 batters going into the sixth.
“I thought my stuff was the best I’ve had in a little while,” Britton said. “I had good strikeout stuff, good ground ball stuff. It was just the execution on a couple pitches. First inning, the home run, a ball that leaped over the plate on me, and the other home run, I knew (Miguel) Olivo was going to be aggressive. I kind of left a ball over the plate that he could handle.
“I felt like I had good stuff and it was just a matter of battling through it. I tried to do the best I could with what I had, but it’s got to be better than that. I understand that. I’ve got to get back on track and find a way to do it and not get frustrated, because that’s not going to help me at all. I just need to come in focus and get ready to go.”
The game ended with Adam Jones’ bases-loaded single to right field in the bottom of the 14th inning.
“Extra-inning game, everybody wanted to get out of here, man,” Jones said. “I’m glad we were able to get it.”
The Orioles have won 12 straight extra-inning games.
“There’s never doubt in my mind in general. Trust me,” Jones said. “I trust these 25 men, so we’re all here together.”
Matt Lindstrom tossed two scoreless innings before Darren O’Day took over in the 13th and improved to 6-0.
“We’ve got a great group of guys down there just battling down there,” Lindstrom said. “I can’t say enough about the offense tonight, also. We kind of got in a hole there and they battled back and all of a sudden it was tied. We just knew we could go out there and take it out by out, and we did a great job tonight. Darren came in, sitting in there for four hours, he came in there at the end of the game and threw two scoreless.”
Guys are being pushed beyond their comfort zones, beyond roles they’ve grown accustomed to before this season, but they’re responding night after night.
“It’s been an adjustment for myself just to learn how to sit down and go back out there,” Lindstrom said. “Normally in my career I’ve been a one-inning guy. We’re trying to do what is asked of us. We’re trying to get to the postseason, so we’re looking forward to that. We’re just trying to do the little things right each and every day.
“I don’t think there’s any special feeling (in extra innings). We just all want to take the ball at any given time. And I think we just have that mindset that we want to go out there and do our job to the best of our ability and hand it to the next guy. I really think that’s our mindset out there. We know we are all capable of doing the job and we have a close-knit group of guys down there, so I think that helps as well.”
Why is this team so good in extra innings?
“I don’t know,” said Wieters who homered twice and doubled. “I don’t know if anybody can give you an exact answer other than (we) just keep playing. There is no quit in this team and we know with our bullpen, they keep putting up zeroes, and eventually somebody’s got to score.”
What was the feeling in the dugout when Jones won it?
“I think it’s more relief at that point,” Wieters said. “I think everybody, you want to get guys on base so you can get that big hit and you don’t have guys just swinging for the fences. To be able to get the leadoff guy on and Nicky (Markakis) to get a big hit and J.J. (Hardy) had a great bunt to get them over and then Jonesy did what he’s been doing all year, coming up big for us.”
“I’m all right right now,” Wieters said, smiling. “Got some adrenaline going, but I’ll sit in a cold tub here for a little bit, too, try to get the legs refreshed for tomorrow.”
He meant later today. We’re past midnight, another victory in the books, another game taken off the Yankees’ division lead. It’s down to 4 1/2, the closest that the Orioles have been since June 29.
“We want to win the division,” Lindstrom said. “We know it’s a beast of a division and we just have to continue to go out there. And we’re getting some solid starts from our starting pitching and the offense is doing a great job, too, putting up runs. The main focus is winning the division first.”
Are we having fun yet?