With tonight’s game heading to the bottom of the 10th inning and the Yankees bringing in left-hander Vidal Nuno, did Orioles manager Buck Showalter consider pinch-hitting for Nate Mclouth, who was leading off?
“I thought he would hit a home run,” Showalter said, grinning.
McLouth did exactly that, of course, delivering the second walk-off home run of his career in a 3-2 victory over the Yankees.
“Yeah, I considered it,” Showalter said. “You’d have to make two moves if you do. And we had talked about Nuno coming in. Nate’s an easy guy to trust. Plus, if he can get on base there, it brings a lot of things into play that he’s good at. Plus, we’re at home. It’s not like we’re behind.
“Like they say, sometimes the best managing you do is the managing you don’t do.”
After three straight blown save opportunities, Jim Johnson retired the Yankees in order on eight pitches in the top of the 10th and was credited with the win.
“I’m happy with the Orioles win and so is Jimmy. That’s the way he approaches it,” Showalter said.
“You like to see good people get a return for the way they go about their business. Jimmy’s an easy guy to trust. If I said something to him after the game, he’d give me that Jim Johnson look.”
Miguel Gonzalez looked like... Miguel Gonzalez. The 2012 version.
“That was the difference,” Showalter said. “That was Miggy. That was the guy who was here for us last year and it was good to see that guy show up today in a lot of ways. The blister held up well. Or (there’s) not one right now.
“I don’t know if we really knew how much it was hindering his ability to throw all his pitches. Tonight, he had a lot of things working with that many left-handed hitters in the lineup.”
Tommy Hunter keyed the victory with two perfect innings before Johnson replaced him. Showalter didn’t consider using Hunter in the 10th.
“The tough one was throwing him out there for a second, but he had a lower pitch count,” Showalter said. “Not the way he was feeling yesterday. He felt good today. I’m glad we didn’t pitch him yesterday. We’ll see if we’ve got him tomorrow or not. Jake (Arrieta) was pitching the next inning. I had dry you-know-what (Darren) O’Day.
“We wanted to keep Miguel around 90 tonight and I didn’t want to get him too deep in that one inning that he was approaching, so we had to get Darren ready. So, I didn’t want to go back to him.”
Chris Dickerson had his first two-homer game.
“I thought he was going to hit a third one,” Showalter said. “I think it was more that I was hoping. The other day he shook my head and said, ‘First time I’ve ever been a DH in the big leagues.’ Tonight, I asked him if he’s ever hit two.
“Chris works hard. He was disappointed this spring when he was one of the last cuts and he went and did what he had to do. He wants to contribute. It’s a luxury to have a guy who can defend like he can and throw and run. At one time, he was in that select list of guys, and a lot of guys figure it out later on in their career. They get in a good atmosphere and a good culture and they know that people get what they bring and have good teammates. And sometimes things get going for them. I hope that’s the case.”
The Orioles picked up their first win since May 12.
“It was nice to win, period. Anytime, regardless of yesterday and the day before,” Showalter said.
“We don’t get bogged down in that ‘woe is me’ and ‘this means that.’ You’ve got to keep turning the page. And they kind of follow each other’s lead and everybody’s lead. You guys are in our locker room every day. Certainly, they get frustrated, but...
“It is what it is. I don’t dwell on it. I really don’t. Maybe I should more. Maybe I’m just getting old. It’s frustrating. It eats at you. It bothers you because you know there’s a lot of people counting on you to make an enjoyable summer. It wasn’t a whole lot of fun riding home and seeing all the Orioles shirts down the streets going home at night and knowing they had planned their time around our game. That bothers me. But what are you going to do?”
Get good starting pitch and good relief pitching, and hit a walk-off home run? That seemed to work.