“Orioles Classics” #TBT: Homers in bunches, a no-hitter with a mulligan

Most famously during the Super Bowl, gamblers have fun with what are called proposition, or prop, bets. These are wagers on predictions that go beyond the outcome of the game itself: How many catches will the team’s top receiver make during the game? How many shots on goal will the home team take in the hockey game? How many bases will the Orioles steal during the doubleheader? How long will the singer take to perform the national anthem?

Depending on the scenario, the sports-betting parlors (when they were still open) might offer astronomical odds.

But who would have predicted that a global pandemic would bring the sports world to a virtual standstill and compel Major League Baseball to postpone the start of the 2020 season? If anyone had, and had convinced a bookmaker to take the action, that person would now be quite wealthy.

But to say that we can’t watch our favorite sport right now would not be entirely accurate. While it’s true that live play will have to wait out the current public-health crisis, you can still catch plenty of exciting baseball action on MASN while you’re self-isolating or practicing social distancing. So as a public service during baseball’s unscheduled spring hiatus, we’re reviving the weekly “Orioles Classics” posts to give you a rundown of Birds games gone by to be rebroadcast on MASN during the coming week.

Meantime, wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer when you can, don’t touch your face and try to avoid crowds. The easiest, most enjoyable way to do the latter is to curl up in front of your TV and enjoy “Orioles Classics.”

Thursday, March 19 - 9 a.m. - The Orioles would finally end a 14-year run of losing seasons in 2012, but before they could do so, they’d have to get through a 14-inning grind against the division-rival Rays on Sept. 13. Lefty starter Wei-Yin Chen pitched 7 1/3 innings and gave up eight hits, but just two runs, and the O’s bullpen held firm the rest of the way. Rookie sensation Manny Machado closed out the proceedings with a walk-off single that drove home Adam Jones for a 3-2 victory.

Friday, March 20 - 11:30 a.m. - Nearly two years later, another extra-inning tussle with the Rays - this one in St. Petersburg - saw Nelson Cruz hit two homers and collect seven RBIs as the O’s came back to win 7-5 on Sept. 7, 2014. Brad Brach pitched the 10th and earned the win. Lefty Andrew Miller - like Cruz, in his only season with the Birds - got the save following Cruz’s two-run shot in the 11th.

Friday, March 20 - 6 p.m. - Nolan Reimold’s pinch-hit, two-run, walk-off homer helped the Orioles complete a sweep of the Indians on July 24, 2016. Brach allowed a run on two hits in the ninth, blowing a save chance, but Pedro Álvarez reached base on a dropped third strike to lead off the ninth and scored on Reimold’s blast as the O’s took a 5-3 win.

Friday, March 20 - 11:30 p.m. - The Orioles came back from a 5-1 deficit to romp over the Rangers on April 15, 2016, and nobody had more fun that night in Arlington, Texas, than Mark Trumbo. As the Birds batted around in the seventh inning, the righty slugger became first player in club history to homer twice in the same inning, the second shot bringing in Jones and Chris Davis ahead of him. Jonathan Schoop also had two home runs, and his eighth-inning solo capped the scoring in an 11-5 win.

Sunday, March 22 - 1 p.m. - The Orioles hit six homers against the Athletics for an 11-3 home win on Mothers Day 2016. The A’s roughed up Chris Tillman to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first, and would have had more if Machado’s relay throw on Yonder Alonso’s RBI double hadn’t gotten Danny Valencia at the plate. In the bottom of the first, Machado got the O’s right back into the game with a two-run blast, then Álvarez and Schoop led off the second with back-to-back dingers. Trumbo went deep for two more runs off A’s starter Kendall Graveman in the third. Joey Rickard went yard off Ryan Dull in the fourth, and Machado’s eighth-inning grand slam slammed the door on the visitors.

Sunday, March 22 - 8 p.m. - Before the aforementioned 14-year string of losing seasons, the Orioles were a playoff team, advancing to the American League Championship Series in 1996 and 1997. On Oct. 5, 1997, they took on the Mariners in Game 4 of the AL Division Series at Camden Yards. With the Orioles leading two games to one in the best-of-five series, future Hall of Famers Mike Mussina and Randy Johnson squared off. The Mariners’ lanky lefty went the distance for the visitors, but Mussina gave up just two hits over seven innings as the Orioles moved on to the next round with a 3-1 triumph. Jeff Reboulet and Geronimo Berróa homered for the Birds and Cal Ripken Jr. went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Sunday, March 22 - 11:30 p.m. - Chris Tillman’s night didn’t start the way he wanted on July 18, 2015, but he didn’t let it faze him. Ian Kinsler’s leadoff single in the first inning would prove to be the only hit the Tigers would manage as Tillman went eight innings at Comerica Park. Zack Britton earned the save. Machado, Jones and Schoop each went 2-for-4, and Machado homered in the Orioles’ 3-0 win.

Monday, March 23 - 9 a.m. - Four years after the Orioles schocked the baseball world by sweeping the Dodgers to win their first World Series, the Birds returned to the Fall Classic to face Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine. This time the O’s needed five games to dispatch the National League champs, and three of those games were decided by a single run. But they popped the champagne on Oct. 15, 1970 following a 9-3 win at Memorial Stadium. Paul Blair and Davey Johnson each went 3-for-4 that day. Frank Robinson hit a two-run homer and Merv Rettenmund a solo shot. Mike Cuellar pitched a complete game against the likes of Pete Rose, Tony Pérez, Johnny Bench and Lee May to get the win.

Monday, March 23 - 4 p.m. - You’ve probably figured out by now that if you’re watching an “Orioles Classics” telecast, chances are good that the game will end in an O’s victory. This one’s a rare exception. The White Sox were in Baltimore on Oct. 5, 1983 to open the American League Championship Series, and LaMarr Hoyt brought his A-game with him. The Chicago right-hander went the distance while holding the Birds to just one run on five hits. Orioles starter Scott McGregor gave up just two runs, but took the loss. Ken Singleton and Dan Ford each had a double in the only defeat in the series for the Orioles, who went on to beat the Phillies in the World Series that year.

Tuesday, March 24 - noon - Longballs were the order of the day on June 2, 2016, but the visiting Red Sox had just one (by David Ortiz) to the Orioles’ seven. Trumbo and Jones knocked two apiece, and Machado, Álvarez and Francisco Peña joined the fun as the Birds won 12-7. O’s starter Ubaldo Jiménez pitched five scoreless innings but couldn’t manage an out in the sixth, and allowed five runs before Mychal Givens relieved him and went on to get a win on two innings of work.

Wednesday, March 25 - noon - In the second game of the O’s 2017 home-and-home series with the Nationals, the visitors struck first as Washington’s Daniel Murphy homered off Jiménez. The Nats had three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer on the hill, and the Orioles had no hits through the first five innings. In the home sixth, though, Seth Smith got hold of Scherzer’s 1-1 offering and tied the score 1-1. Adam Lind’s three-run homer put the Nats back on top in the eighth, but in the bottom half, Scherzer allowed a second homer, this one by Jones. With the Orioles trailing 4-2 in the ninth, Schoop hit an RBI double and J.J. Hardy got an RBI single off Washington reliever Enny Romero to send the game to extras. The decisive blow came in the 12th inning, when Trumbo’s single to left brought Jones home for the game-winner.

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