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18-inning victory lifts Orioles into tie for first

The SportsXchange

While most of Baltimore slept early Wednesday, the Orioles were playing an unscheduled doubleheader-in-one -- and they pulled out a victory that is crucial to their playoff hopes.

The Orioles played 18 innings and won a 5-hour, 44-minute marathon over the Mariners in Seattle, 4-2, pulling them into a virtual tie with the New York Yankees for the AL East lead.

New York (83-63) is less than a percentage point ahead of Baltimore (84-64). The teams are also tied for the second AL wild-card spot, a half-game behind the Oakland A's (84-63).

There were plenty of unsung heroes Tuesday, starting with the seven relievers.

Jake Arrieta threw 3 1/3 shutout innings, issuing just a walk. Steve Johnson threw three shutout innings, walking one and allowing one hit. Tommy Hunter appeared for the third straight night, and he turned in two shutout innings to get the win.

All three began the year as starting pitchers, Arrieta and Hunter in the Baltimore rotation, Johnson in the Class AAA Norfolk rotation.

After the Orioles scored twice in the top of the 18th, Jim Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning for his big-league-leading 44th save.

Third catcher Luis Exposito and rookie outfielder L.J. Hoes were the only healthy position players not to appear.

In the 18th, the Orioles broke through. Nate McLouth drew a leadoff walk and scored on a single from pinch hitter Taylor Teagarden. Mark Reynolds knocked in an insurance run on a fielder's choice grounder.

Baltimore had trailed 2-0 into the ninth inning before Chris Davis' two-run single sent the game into the night -- and morning.
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