The Orioles have waited this long to celebrate a playoff berth, so what’s a few more hours? Or another day? Or...
Manager Buck Showalter took in the scene that unfolded following the Orioles’ 6-3 victory over the Red Sox. Players stood together and watched the top of ninth inning of the Angels-Rangers game being shown on the JumboTron. Nobody wanted to go back inside the clubhouse.
“It’s sincere,” Showalter said. “They want to watch it together. One thing I challenged them with since Day One was to stay together and they’ve heard it over and over again because there are so many things that can separate you. Let the game, the competition, be the only thing that challenges you. I’m real proud of them.
“I spent more time watching the players and their reactions. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to take in a moment. I took a couple of scans around. We want to keep that. It’s our responsibility.”
The Orioles scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and never trailed.
“I’ll take that anytime,” Showalter said. “Through the years, it seems like if you hit a home run with your leadoff hitter, it ends up being the only run you score, but I said to myself in the dugout, that conventionality, that kind of stuff, I don’t think about it.
“It was good to get ahead early, especially for Joe (Saunders). He’s got some adrenaline, too. Sometimes, you want something to happen to fast and you want to get to the end game too fast.
“Our goal now is to try to figure out how to play some more games here at Camden.”
Jim Johnson, runner-up for the Most Valuable Oriole award, notched his 50th save with a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.
“You have no idea how I respect that accomplishment. I’ve been right there with every one of them,” Showalter said.
“Going three up, three down in the ninth inning, if you’re an American League East team on the road is hard. Three, four, five hitters is hard. It’s really hard.
“It’s been an honor to watch, the whole process of him as a pitcher, a teammate, a man. The Baltimore Orioles doing well means a lot to Jim Johnson. There’s a reason why he’s the player rep.”
UPDATE: The Rangers lead the Angels, 8-4, in the sixth inning behind Mike Napoli’s six RBIs.
The Angels led, 4-0, in the top of the first and went into shutdown mode.
As most of you have figured out, the Orioles clinch a playoff berth if the Angels lose.