If Brian Roberts returns to the Orioles’ active roster on Tuesday night, some player will have to go to make roster room. Steve Tolleson is very aware of the situation and that the player to leave could be him.
If he does go, he made a nice last impression, (for now at least), hitting a game-tying three-run homer off Cliff Lee today in the Orioles’ 5-4 win in ten innings over Philadelphia.
Tolleson might have stated a case for himself with his three-run shot down the left-field line in the fourth that made it a 4-4 game.
“That was kind of my thing this whole time,” Tolleson said. “I knew I was up here on borrowed time. I don’t know if that is going to be the end of it. I know that myself is very excited to have Brian Roberts back on this team, whether that means me going to Triple-A or whatever. Roberts is irreplaceable on this team, and we’re very excited to have him come back.”
Tolleson is batting .237 with two homers and six RBIs in 12 games, and he has tried to stay ready as a player coming off the bench.
“It can be tough to stay in the flow of the game,” Tolleson said, “but if you prepare yourself the right way and understand the role you are in, it makes it a little easier.”
He hit his third major league homer, his second with the Orioles, on a 1-2 pitch off Lee.
“I knew I got it,” he said. “I was hoping it would stay fair. It was a cutter in, and I tried to keep my hands inside of it. Luckily enough for the team and me, it didn’t hook and stayed fair.
“There is a sense of urgency when our pitchers do their job and shut them down. We feel in the bottom half it’s our turn to do our best. Our big name players have come up with big hits for us the last couple of games. Jonesey another walk-off homer, these guys are doing what they are supposed to do and it’s why we are in the race.”
Matt Wieters got the game-ending hit but noted how important that one swing by Tolleson was earlier.
“Big. Big,” Wieters said of Tolleson. “You give Cliff Lee a lead, he’s going to be tough. To put a three-run homer up on him and tie the game, you know, down 4-1, to tie it up gave us a lift heading to the later innings.”
And now the Orioles have won back-to-back series after losing four in a row and going through a stretch of nine losses in 11 games.
“We went through a tough two-week span and tough road trip,” Tolleson said. “Any time we can get the momentum back our way, that’s big. Jonsesy and Wieters got it done for us today.”
So did Tolleson today.