A special season, one that featured a 24-win improvement and a move from worst to almost first along with a return to the playoffs, came to an end tonight in New York.
CC Sabathia pitched a complete-game, four-hitter with nine strikeouts as the Yankees beat the Orioles 3-1 in the decisive fifth game of the American League Division Series.
This season of Orioles Magic is finally over after a lot of wins and thrills and a return to winning baseball in Baltimore.
In the end, the Orioles just didn't get enough offense. Not nearly enough. The Orioles scored just 10 runs in this series, scoring two or less in four of the five games and three in the other game.
In this series, Adam Jones went 2-for-23, J.J. Hardy went 3-for-22, Matt Wieters was 3-for-19 and Mark Reynolds finished 3-for-19. The Orioles began today with a team average of just .197 in the series.
Down 3-0 heading to the eighth, the Orioles got one run, but left the bases loaded against Sabathia, who needed 29 pitches to escape the major jam. Lew Ford had an RBI single, but Sabathia pitched out of a bases-full, one-out mess by striking out Nate McLouth and getting Hardy to bounce out to short.
Jason Hammel pitched well, as Orioles starters did in each postseason game this year. He took the loss despite allowing just two runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings. In this series, O's starters pitched to an ERA of 2.08 and in this postseason, that mark was 2.00. The Orioles' starter gave up two runs or less in each of the club's six playoff games.
After Hammel had retired the first 12 Yankees, Mark Teixeira led off the fifth with a single. With Reynolds playing near him, but not holding him at the first base bag, Teixeira recorded his first postseason stolen base and scored on a Raul Ibanez single for a 1-0 lead. An Ichiro Suzuki RBI double made it 2-0 an inning later. Curtis Granderson's homer in the seventh made it 3-0.
The Orioles thought they had gotten on the board in the top of the sixth on a McLouth deep drive down the right-field line. The ball was ruled foul. Some felt the replay showed a change of direction and that it might have nicked the foul pole. After a review, the umpires stuck with the original call.
The Orioles chased the Yankees all through September and 10 times they pulled into a tie for first place. They never got the division lead. Tonight, in the 23rd game between the teams, with the season series tied 11-11, they couldn't pull ahead again. The Yankees move on while the O's season has come to an end.