Villar’s homer in the 16th leads O’s to crazy win in Anaheim

ANAHEIM, Calif. - When this game began many, many hours ago, Jonathan Villar was 0-for-15 on this road trip and had two hits his last 22 at-bats. But he delivered a two-run homer in the 16th tonight, and the Orioles, finally, finally had a win.

They outlasted the Los Angeles Angels 10-8 in a game that ended after 4 a.m. EDT. Villar’s hit was the latest (in terms of innings) go-ahead homer in O’s history.

To make matters crazier, Stevie Wilkerson went from center field to the mound and retired the Angels in order in the 16th. He got his first major league save.

The game lasted six hours and 19 minutes, the longest of the year for Baltimore by time and innings.

A game that seemed like it would never end went to the 15th in a 5-5 tie. Amazingly, after the Orioles scored three to lead 8-5, the Angels got three to tie it.

Each team homered in the ninth and the 5-5 tie raged on through several extra innings. In the 15th, Jace Peterson batted with runners on second and third and two outs. He hit a sharp single off the glove off first baseman Albert Pujols to plate Villar and Dwight Smith Jr. Then Peterson stole second and scored on Hanser Alberto’s single for an 8-5 lead. Alberto went 4-for-8 in the game.

Severino-Tags-Fletcher-in-15th-Gray-Sidebar.jpgBut the Orioles let the three-run lead get away as lefty Tanner Scott came on and issued three walks and a single to score one, and it was 8-6. Mike Trout was then up with the bases loaded and doubled into the left field corner. Two runners scored and David Fletcher tried to make it three to get a walk-off win for the Angels, but he was cut down at the plate 7-6-2. A lengthy review confirmed the out call before a fly out sent the game to the 16th in an 8-8 tie.

The Orioles improved to 33-69 overall and 2-2 on this trip. They are 5-3 over the last eight games and 11-11 over their past 22. They snapped the Angels’ four-game win streak.

With the game tied 4-4 in the ninth, Trey Mancini mashed homer No. 23 to right-center field to put the Orioles ahead 5-4. Right-hander Hansel Robles came on in the ninth for the Angels, and he had posted an ERA of 0.81 his past 21 games. But Mancini drilled a 97 mph fastball on an 0-1 count to give the Orioles the lead. He drove the pitch 421 feet for his sixth homer in the last eight games.

This followed the Orioles’ two-run rally in the eighth to forge a 4-4 tie.

But needing three outs for a win in regulation, the Orioles couldn’t get it. Brian Goodwin’s homer to right with one out in the last of the ninth off Mychal Givens tied it 5-5. This was his sixth blown save in 14 chances.

In the Angels’ seventh, Kole Calhoun’s three-run double to deep center off southpaw Paul Fry turned a 2-1 O’s lead into a 4-2 lead for the Angels. The O’s led 2-1 for three innings before Calhoun’s deep drive put Los Angeles ahead.

Orioles right-hander Tom Eshelman followed opener Jimmy Yacabonis to the mound in the third and pitched out of a couple of big jams. But the Orioles could not escape the third big rally with the lead.

Eshelman blanked Los Angeles in the third through the sixth, but left for Shawn Armstrong after allowing a one-out single in the seventh. Armstrong faced three batters, and walks sandwiched a flyout. That brought on Fry for the bases-loaded, two-out showdown with Calhoun. Calhoun was 0-for-3 tonight prior to this at-bat against Fry, but had gone 6-for-9 the past two nights versus the Dodgers with four doubles and two homers.

He lined a 1-0 slider to deep center and Wilkerson backpedaled. He took a leap and the ball appeared to glance off the top of his glove for a three-run double. It was the biggest hit of the night to that point, a 102 mph liner hit right at Wilkerson.

But the Orioles would not go away. They erased that two-run margin as they tied the game in the eighth against right-hander Ty Buttrey. With one out, Pedro Severino singled. He then went to third when Villar singled to snap an 0-for-18 skid. Smith’s deep sac fly to center made it a 4-3 game. And then Wilkerson smoked a ground-rule double to right-center on a breaking ball that almost hit the dirt to tie it 4-4.

With the game tied, the O’s elected to pitch to Trout with a runner on third and two outs in the last of the eighth. And Givens got him looking at a 94 mph four-seamer to send the game tied to the ninth. Trout is now 0-for-6 in his career against Givens. But in the ninth, Goodwin’s homer did get Los Angeles even.

Earlier, Yacabonis made his third start, serving as an opener and allowing one run over the first two innings. Trout doubled off him in the first, went to third on a wild pitch an scored on Justin Upton’s sac fly for the 1-0 lead.

Yacabonis allowed the one run on one hit with two walks and one strikeout on 46 pitches to leave his ERA at 6.81.

The Orioles tied the game 1-1 in the fourth off lefty José Suarez. Renato Núñez walked with one out and went to second on a wild pitch. Anthony Santander stayed hot with an RBI single to center at 107 mph off the bat to tie it up. Over his previous seven games, Santander was batting .448 with four homers and nine RBIs.

Núñez smoked an RBI single to right an inning later for a 2-1 lead. Richie Martin reached on a one-out infield hit and advanced to second on Alberto’s single. He scored when Núñez drove in his 58th run to break the 1-1 tie.

Much, much later, after 4 a.m. on the East Coast, the Orioles finished off a win.

Notes: Wilkerson tonight became the first position player ever to record a save. The save became an official statistic in 1969.

Since 1969 there have been two American League position players to earn a win or a save in a game, and both were Orioles. Chris Davis got a win at Boston on May 6, 2012, and Wilkerson in this game.

The Orioles are the first team to blow a lead of three or more runs in the 15th or later and still win the game since the Astros at the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 2, 1986, according to STATS.

A few postgame quotes and more will be coming in a few hours in a later morning entry:

Brandon Hyde on the wild win:Just a great, great baseball game. A really gutty performance from our guys. It was a boxing match back and forth. It went extra innings. Gabriel Ynoa was unbelievable after pitching yesterday an inning and two-thirds, and going four for us. They had their guy, who was on his third day in a row. He pitched unbelievable against us. It was just a great game.”

Hyde on an emotional clubhouse after the win: “I think everybody was incredibly excited. Everybody’s going to hit a wall here in about 10 minutes because it was pretty exhausting, mentally and physically. It was just a grind baseball game. It feels great to come out on top.”

Wilkerson on first position player with a save: “I don’t think I’ve wrapped my head around it yet. What a wild game. That was just crazy. I’m glad I could go out there and be part of getting us a win.

“I did run up and get a pitching glove about the 13th inning or so. I know we were running thin on guys and we’d used Gaby and some of those other guys pretty recently, so I knew it was a possibility when the game was getting late. I think that was a gutsy performance by everybody.”

Hyde said the Orioles will almost certainly have to make a pitching move or multiple moves before Friday night’s game.

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