The Orioles were respectable in extra innings last season, going 8-8. This season they are a remarkable, AL-best 12-2. The Orioles lost their first two extra-inning games of the season, and have now run off a win streak of 12 in a row.
They have not lost in extras for nearly four months, since April 11.
Last night's win took 14 innings and nearly five hours, making the Orioles 5-0 this year in games that last at least 13 innings.
It probably won't surprise you to learn that the real key to that success has been Orioles pitching. The O's staff has an ERA of 1.10 when pitching in extra innings this year, allowing just five earned runs over 41 innings with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 33-to-7. The Orioles bullpen pitched nine shutout innings in last night's win.
The O's lead the AL in extra-inning win percentage:
.857 - Orioles (12-2)
.750 - Oakland (9-3)
.714 - Minnesota (5-2)
.667 - Texas (6-3)
Good thing the O's win such a high percentage of these games since they have played more extra-inning games than any other AL club.
Some hitters have good extra-inning stats. Adam Jones is 5-for-17 with three homers and eight RBIs with an OPS of 1.192. Chris Davis is 3-for-10 with two RBIs. J.J. Hardy is 5-for-17 with a homer, and Matt Wieters is 5-for-16 with a homer, five RBIs and .978 OPS.
Taylor Teagarden is 2-for-3, and the two hits both helped win games. He came up with a two-run homer to beat Detroit 8-6 in the 13th inning on July 14 in his first O's game. He then doubled in the game's only run on Sunday in the 10th in a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay.
The Orioles' 33 extra-inning wins since 2010 lead the majors.
When the game goes beyond nine this year, it seems the Orioles have their opponent right where they want them, whether it takes 14 or 17 innings.
But after last night, they probably would be quite happy to play just nine innings tonight at the Yard.
Steve and Dave Johnson note: How is this for interesting history? Dave Johnson just noted during an interview on 105.7 FM the Fan in Baltimore that, while he made his major league debut in 1987, his first-ever big league win was on August 8, 1989. Tonight, exactly 23 years later, his son Steve will make his first-ever big league start for the same team. That win for Dave came in his second career big league start.
Dave, by the way, threw a 134-pitch complete game in that outing as the Orioles beat Minnesota, 6-1, in front of 27,875 at Memorial Stadium.