The Baltimore Orioles are having a surprisingly super season in many ways, but there's almost no stopping them after the ninth inning. The O's moved into a virtual tie for first place in the AL East on Wednesday morning, improving to 14-2 in extras with a 4-2 victory in 18 innings against the Seattle Mariners that took 5 hours, 44 minutes.
The Mariners gave themselves plenty of chances to win, only to be stopped at nearly every turn. They combined to go 0 for 17 with runners in scoring position and stranded 16 overall. The M's put the leadoff man aboard in the 10th, 12th, 16th and 17th, but Baltimore's bullpen kept Seattle off the scoreboard for 12 2/3 innings.
That was long enough for Taylor Teagarden to bloop a tie-breaking RBI single, and for Mark Reynolds to bring in another run with an RBI grounder in the 18th against left-hander Lucas Luetge. Those runs were the first since Baltimore's Chris Davis hit a two-run single that barely bled into the outfield to tie the score 2-all in the top of the ninth against M's closer Tom Wilhelmsen. Davis' hit spoiled a wonderful eight-plus-inning stint by rookie Erasmo Ramirez.
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In 55 extra innings this season, Orioles relievers have allowed five runs and 36 hits total. That's some Orioles Magic right there. And it could be, above all else, why they're in first place with the New York Yankees, who had their game rained out.
Jake Arrieta went 3 1/3 hitless innings and Steve Johnson worked three scoreless. With his team on the road at Safeco Field and the Mariners bound to have the last at-bat, O's manager Buck Showalter didn't use closer Jim Johnson until the end. Following Tommy Hunter's two scoreless innings, Johnson picked up his 44th save with a 1-2-3 ninth that ended just before the clock struck 4 a.m. back in Baltimore. The O's also improved to 9-0 in extras away from Camden Yards. Are they destiny's Birds?
Of all the weird baseball that happened — from the repetitive failures with RISP to the 5-6 putout at third base the Mariners pulled off — Seattle's Miguel Olivo drawing three walks might have been the weirdest. He came into the game with four walks in 287 plate appearances. He also hit a two-run homer to give the M's a lead in the fourth.
Seattle's Jesus Montero went 0 for 8. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters combined to go 0 for 14 with six strikeouts for Baltimore.
On the plus side, Nate McLouth had three hits and two runs scored, including the tying and go-ahead runs. J.J. Hardy's hit-and-run with McLouth in the 18th set up the Orioles deciding rally.
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