Quotes and reactions following 5-2 win and wild card berth

NEW YORK - The Orioles formed the usual postgame handshake line on the field this afternoon after Zach Britton struck out Brett Gardner. High-fives, a few hugs and into the dugout.

No dog pile on the mound, no raucous celebration. Champagne and beer were sprayed and poured over heads in the visiting clubhouse, but players stopped to watch the end of the game in Boston, showered and left.

There's more work to do. And it's going to happen in Toronto.

The Orioles qualified for the second wild card with a 5-2 win over the Yankees. The Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 2-1 to earn the right to host the Tuesday night game at Rogers Centre.


"It's not a division title," said center fielder Adam Jones. "When we won the division in 2014, we were celebrating out there like crazy. But we know it's a stepping stone and I think what we did was we respected the wild card game. We're like, 'OK, good, we're in it,' but we're not going to go all like that on the field.

"In here, we're celebrating and having a little bit of fun."

The fun included dousing manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette. Any player being interviewed was an easy target, along with the media surrounding him. Hyun Soo Kim was cornered and drenched.

Yesterday's loss to the Yankees was shrugged off in the usual manner. Come back the next day as if nothing happened and win.

"We don't care who we play," Jones said. "We're in it. We're putting ourselves up for something, so it doesn't matter who we play. We don't care."

The Orioles are in the playoffs for the third time in five seasons.

"I'm really proud of the team," Duquette said "We've been able to establish a winning presence and to go back to the playoffs again and have another shot at it, that's really what we've been working for all year. So now we've got a shot to go for the dance, but I like the ring of O is for October because that tells everybody that we want to get in the dance and then we want to advance in the tournament. And we've been able to do that for three years, which is a credit to these guys that work so hard all year round in the organization.

"We've had some guys who had great years. We've got an MVP candidate, we've got a Cy Young Award candidate, we've got the home run champ, we've got an excellent manager, we've got five All-Stars and our pitching is coming around. Our team is strong and we've got a chance to play in the postseason. That's all you can ask for. You just roll the dice and see if you can knock on the door and break through this time."

There must be a sense of vindication. The team was picked universally to finish last. Duquette was blasted by critics for not making the necessary improvements.

"Generally, people don't pick us in the offseason, which is OK by us, but I don't know what criteria they use," Duquette said. "Nobody has picked us to do much and this club always finds a way to compete.

"We have good internal leadership. And really, we're able to compete because we've got those two young kids in the rotation who came through with great talent, right? (Dylan) Bundy and (Kevin) Gausman. And then Mychal Givens emerged and Britton has the great year that he had. And those are all plusses for the organization. Those are players who came through that you couldn't necessarily count on for the roles that they filled on this team. And then to have the veteran pitchers come around like they have the last month of the season, that gives us a good foundation going into the playoffs."

Gausman was tremendous again today at Yankee Stadium, charged with two runs in 7 1/3 innings.

"I don't think you can describe it," he said. "Once I woke up, I was ready to go. I was locked in knowing what this game meant. I was going to make sure every pitch I threw wasn't going to be too good. I left a couple pitches too good. (Brian) McCann made me pay for it.

"I can't say enough about our defense today. It was ridiculous. Michael Bourn made a great play in right. With all those guys doing what they do every single night, it makes it a lot easier on us, especially when J.J. Hardy makes that play that bounces off second base. When that happens, I kind of knew it was going to be a good day."

The Orioles have enjoyed more good days than were expected by the prognosticators. They're 89-73 and headed to the wild card game.

"People say that every single year," Gausman said. "I really don't know why, but for some reason they like picking against us. It's fine with us. We're kind of used to it. But this team is a lot of fun and we have a lot of quality guys, so it makes coming to the ballpark every day really easy, and like I said, a lot of fun.

"Knowing that the Jays won last night kind of put a different spin on it, so when I woke up I was ready to go. I wanted the game to start at 12 o'clock. I was pacing back and forth in here a long time and I wanted the ball today. I think it's even more fun to do it here. They beat us up a lot over the years way past before my time, so it's good to celebrate here."

Showalter kept saying that he just wanted the chance to roll the dice in October. Now he's got it.

"They've grinded, not since February, but since the season ended last year," he said. "I told them in the last conversation, 'This too shall pass.' The game's not always fair. This year it was because they got a return for what they put into it.

"You look up 'grind' in the dictionary, you should have the 2016 Orioles there because these guys never gave in."

Showalter wasn't gloating over the team proving the critics wrong again.

"Life is too short to have those emotions," he said. "Thank goodness people make predictions and think things like that. We've used them very well. It's kind of who we are and the way we have to do it.

"There's a real identity not only with our team, but with the city and everything. They like that because skill and talent plays. There's just so much you can do with emotion. You have to have some skills and sometimes that gets overlooked with our guys. These are some talented guys and they're talented in their ability to be consistent.

"There's so many guys that played a big hand in this. The guys who want the ball. As a manager, you want to give it to them."

Gausman was the right guy in this setting.

"He's had that body language of 'That guy,'" Showalter said. "I say all the time to the minor league guys and scouts, does he have it, does he have it? And they all know what we're talking about.

"He's graduated to the right part of the process and he's been fun to watch. We needed him today and he delivered."

So did catcher Matt Wieters with two-run homers from both sides of the plate.


"Matt has had that competitive edge for about 10 days," Showalter said. "Not that he doesn't have it (usually), it's just been more. Keep in mind, he just caught a night game, day game, and when I asked him how he was feeling it was like, 'Really, I'm playing.'

"This guy overcame surgery. We had this conversation last year. And I think when you get in times like this, you realize how much Matt means to this club and to this organization."

Wieters is a pending free agent again whose days with the club may be numbered. He put four on the scoreboard today.

"I didn't know going out of last year what the future was going to hold for me this year. I can't imagine anything better than this right here except for doing it after a World Series with these guys," Wieters said.

"It was a hard-fought regular season. We had to play down to 162 and it all came down to one game. So we'll celebrate tonight and then rest up for the next one.

"This is the greatest feeling you can have as a baseball player, celebrating as a team in a clubhouse. Nothing greater than this.

"This team is battle tested. We're ready for whatever gets thrown at us. "We've been through it all and now it's time to enjoy tonight and get ready for the postseason."

It wasn't a save situation for Britton, but he earned the right to record the last five outs. He retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, which seemed appropriate.

It was pretty cool," he said. "I'm disappointed I couldn't save that run there for Gaus, he deserved a better fate than that, so I was pretty disappointed in that. I got a little bit ahead of myself there. But as a whole, I'm pretty happy with it, but I'll be even happier if we get deep into the postseason."

The Orioles get the chance because they heated up again at the right time. They were swept in a four-game series against the Red Sox at Camden Yards, but responded by winning seven of their last nine games, winning series in Toronto and New York.

"These guys, they grind it out every day," Duquette said. "They're there taking care of business. It's a hard-working club. They knew at the start of the road trip what the job was and we played good defense all year.

"We got some veteran leadership with Matt, the last couple of months of the season, the way he swung the bat, and then you see Jon Schoop developing every day, becoming more valuable for the ballclub. We've got some good talent, and I'm really proud of how they work. Our leadership is steady."

"I think the biggest thing is we were in first place for a long time," Britton said, "and then to fall out of that and be fighting for our lives for a wild card spot just showed the resilience, I thought. I think the biggest thing about coming to the field every day with these guys is that the mindset never changed. It was always the same even when we had our struggles. That's the main reason why we were able to fight through it and win on this last day in a game that we needed to."

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