Sometimes to make a game-winning play you have to be prepared for it before it happens.
That was the case today for O’s left fielder Corey Patterson.
In just his second game with the team, he threw out Josh Wilson at the plate on Ichiro Suzuki’s single to end the game as the Orioles beat Seattle 6-5.
“With Ichiro up I knew he had more power to his pull side. Anything he hits opposite field, doesn’t have as much power, it’s just for mainly base hits. With him having two strikes, I was in shallow.
“I said to myself if the ball comes to me really concentrate on fielding the ball first, before I concentrate on any good throw. Anybody else with a little more power to the opposite field, maybe you play a little deeper and come in and charge the ball.
“So I kind of anticipated what I was going to do before the play happened. The throw was a little off line, but Matt (Wieters) made a great play stretching across and making the tag.”
That was the Orioles 6th outfield assist of the year and all have come on plays at the plate. In 2009, the O’s led the AL with 36 outfield assists.
It’s not often a game ends with a play at the plate but it happened today and Patterson’s positioning played a key role.
There was talk after the game that coach John Shelby had moved Patterson in a bit in left during Ichiro’s at bat.
“Yeah, a little bit, but at the same time, too, we were on the same page. Like I said, I know with him he’s not going to hit the ball that hard to the opposite field. I was playing him about the same place every time. He has more juice the other way. We were positioned the right way,” Patterson said.
Patterson had a two-hit game today with a double and solo homer and is 3 for 9 in two O’s games after batting .368 with Norfolk.
“It’s very important. You can’t say ‘he just got here.’ It doesn’t matter, you want to play good every day. Just come in with a good positive attitude and focus and work hard.”
His homer leading off the last of the 8th off Brandon League, helped fuel an O’s five-run rally for the win that was capped by a Luke Scott Grand Slam.
“It was a fastball, pretty much middle,” Patterson said of his homer to right. “Just had to put a good swing on it and luckily it went over the fence.”
He’s batted leadoff twice now for the O’s and may get a longer trial there in a spot where the O’s have produced little offense on the season.
“Leadoff is just for the bottom of the first when you are home. It can be a different leadoff guy every inning. I try to get on base with a hit or walk and help the team out.”
He did that today, with his bat, glove and arm.