So what if we had a conversation right before the game last night?
What if I had mentioned that I knew the Orioles would make a season-high three errors and go 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position? That their starter would go just five innings and walk six? That they’d have just six hits? That they’d fall behind 2-0? That they would have runners on second and third with no outs in the eighth and not score? That to win, they’d have to beat Koji Uehara, who had gone 30 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings and had retired 37 straight batters?
Sure, they’ll win that game. Yeah, right. But they did.
Now, as a follow up act, to make that win really matter, they just need to keep winning. No time to enjoy that one for too long.
But what a win it was for the Orioles. They overcame a lot and plenty went wrong in the game, yet they still beat the club with the best record in the majors. A club that had won 17 of its last 21 games. A club that had won eight of its last nine at home. A club that was averaging seven runs per game in September.
Danny Valencia’s triple in the ninth inning was his first of the year in his 125th at-bat and helped end Koji’s scoreless streak, handing him his first loss. Valencia is 26-for-55 (.473) over his last 16 games with eight doubles, a triple, four homers and 13 RBIs.
Is he playing his way into a job with the 2014 Orioles?
The Orioles have now scored three runs in three straight games, winning two of them. They have gone 3-for-25 with runners in scoring position in those games. Still waiting for that breakout game on offense we talked about in this space yesterday.
Chris Davis has hit homers Nos. 50 and 51 on this road trip to become the club’s single-season record-holder. Both have been big. No. 50 on Friday put the O’s ahead 4-3 in the eighth at Toronto. Last night, No. 51 tied the game 2-2 in the sixth. They won both games.
During a season when several Orioles have had big years, Davis is still the easy choice as the Most Valuable Oriole. That says a lot about his monster year. With his next extra-base hit, he’ll have 93 and top Brady Anderson for that club record also.
The O’s remain two games behind American League wild card co-leaders Tampa Bay and Texas. Cleveland is just 1/2 game behind that pair. If the Indians win tonight, they will move ahead of the Tampa-Texas loser tonight and into one of the two AL wild card spots, at least for the moment.
Tonight in Game 2 of this series, Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.99 ERA) faces Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.66 ERA). Chen gave up eight runs in 3 2/3 on Aug. 27 at Fenway Park and obviously that can’t happen again.
That was a thrilling, exciting, emotional, tense, dramatic and important O’s win last night.
Now they simply have to do it again.