“Orioles Classics” #TBT: Playoff seasons, an upset win and a Boston marathon

Rebuilding, as the Orioles are doing now, requires persistence and the patience to endure a sometimes painful process. In such times, remembering better ones can help to soothe a fan’s fevered brow and perhaps give us all a glimpse of glories yet to come.

In this round of “Orioles Classics,” MASN brings you some true feel-good moments from both the recent and distant pasts. You’ll thrill at the exploits of Hall of Famers, role players and one of the most unlikely winning pitchers ever wrapping up an O’s victory to conclude a game that seemed endless..

Friday, Nov. 15 - 9 a.m. - May 6, 2012 at Fenway Park wasn’t so much a ballgame as it was a “Rocky” movie. In an intriguing plot twist, slugger Chris Davis played the hero on a day when he went 0-for-8. At the end of the eighth inning, the score was tied 6-6, and it stayed that way for eight more innings. The Orioles and Red Sox both burned through their bullpens and were forced to press position players into emergency service as pitchers. Davis went to the hill in the home half of the 16th. He got two batters - striking out the first - before an error put Marlon Byrd on first as the potential winning run. Mike Aviles’ double figured to be a walk-off winner. At least that’s how Byrd had it figured. But J.J. Hardy’s relay throw got him at the plate, and the Orioles stayed alive. Outfielder Darnell McDonald pitched the top of the 17th for the Red Sox, looking a lot more like how you’d expect a position player to look. He got himself into a jam, and Adam Jones yanked a three-run homer to put the O’s ahead 9-6. Davis hit a grounder for the third out, then went back to work on the mound. He surrendered a single and a walk, but then got his second strikeout of the day. Davis then induced a ground ball from McDonald for a game-ending double play and his first win as a big league pitcher.

Sunday, Nov. 17 - 2 p.m. - In 1966, the upstart Orioles found themselves facing long odds against a starting rotation that included three future Hall of Famers in the World Series. The Birds not only beat those odds, they obliterated them, sweeping the formidable Dodgers while holding the favorites to just two runs for the entire series. The O’s had finished in third place the year before, but the trade for Frank Robinson - who would be the American League MVP in ‘66 - provided them with the missing piece and ushered in the Golden Age of Orioles Baseball. In this 90-minute retrospective, relive the World Series triumph through highlights and interviews with some of the Orioles greats who made it happen.

Tuesday, Nov. 19 - 7 p.m. - The Astros won it all in 2017, but you can’t win ‘em all. Not over the course of a whole baseball season, anyway. That particular season’s eventual world champs were at Camden Yards on July 23, 2017, wrapping up the first leg of a road trip and looking to sweep the season series with the Birds. Both starters struggled and both teams put crooked numbers on the scoreboard more than once that afternoon. The ‘Stros chased Dylan Bundy and grabbed the lead during a four-run sixth inning, but immediately following the traditional seventh-inning stretch playing of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” Mark Trumbo led off with a home run that tied the score at 7-7. The Orioles added two runs in the eighth on a sac fly from Manny Machado and an RBI single from Jonathan Schoop. Zack Britton worked the ninth, striking out two batters while setting a new American League record for consecutive saves (55).

Wednesday, Nov. 20 - 9 a.m. - You will recall 1996 as the year 12-year-old Yankees fan Jeffrey Maier became persona non grata in Birdland when he stole a fly ball from Tony Tarasco to give Derek Jeter a disputed, game-tying homer that helped the Yanks win the American League Championship Series (and helped nudge Major League Baseball toward replay review). But before that infamous incident, the Orioles took three of four games against the Cleveland Indians in the AL Division Series. In Game 2, sinkerballer Scott Erickson faced off against former Dodgers ace Orel Hershiser at Camden Yards. Brady Anderson, Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray each recorded RBIs in the fifth to give the O’s a 4-0 lead, but the Tribe closed the gap to one run in the top of the sixth, a two-run homer from future Oriole Albert Belle accounting for the biggest blow. Julio Franco tied the game in the eighth with a sacrifice fly off Armando Benitez. But in the bottom half, Bobby Bonilla’s walk and Ripken’s double set the table for RBIs from Anderson, B.J. Surhoff and Roberto Alomar. Randy Myers got the save.

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