NEW YORK—Three days after they finished off an exciting three-game series in Toronto, the Orioles will go back to Canada for the wild-card game on Tuesday.
The Orioles had polished off the New York Yankees 5-2 to secure their third postseason berth in five seasons, but the players didn’t go wild on the field.
They did go wild in the clubhouse, spraying champagne and beer on each other while hoping the Boston Red Sox could beat the Toronto Blue Jays.
Toronto won 2-1, forcing the Orioles to go on the road for their wild-card game.
The Orioles haven’t played well in Rogers Centre this year—until this week when they won two of three.
On Saturday, the Orioles lost to the Yankees 7-3, and after the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox Saturday night, it was up to Kevin Gausman.
Gausman delivered a solid performance, allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings.
“Knowing that the Jays won last night kind of put a different spin on it,” Gausman said.
“When I woke up I was ready to go. I wanted the game to start at 12 o’clock. I was pacing back and forth in here a long time and I wanted the ball today.”
Gausman (9-12) yielded to Zach Britton, who came in for the last five outs. It wasn’t a save situation for Britton, who allowed two hits in the eighth that led to a run, but finished off the Yankees (84-78) quickly in the ninth and got to celebrate the postseason clincher
“It was pretty cool. I’m disappointed I couldn’t save that run there for Gaus-y, he deserved a better fate than that. So I was pretty disappointed in that. I got a little bit ahead of myself there. But as a whole, I’m pretty happy with it, but I’ll be even happier if we get deep into the postseason,” Britton said.
If the Orioles (89-73) win Toronto on Tuesday, they’ll advance to the American League Division Series two days later in Arlington, Tex. against the Rangers, who have the best record in the American League.
Manager Buck Showalter hasn’t announced a pitcher for the wild-card. Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez are the likely options. Toronto manager John Gibbons can probably choose between Francisco Liriano and Marcus Stroman.
The Blue Jays won the season series, 10-9.
Matt Wieters hit two two-run homers, becoming the first Oriole to hit home runs from both sides of the plate since Roberto Alomar on July 25, 1999. Wieters hit one in the fourth against Luis Cessa (4-4) and another in the sixth off Tommy Layne.
“Any team that makes the playoffs after 162 games, you’ve been through the ups and down and this team is no different. We’ve been through it all. It’s not time for the postseason. We’ll enjoy it tonight and then move on to the postseason,” Wieters said.
Two years ago, Wieters missed the run to the American League Championship Series after Tommy John surgery. Four years ago, the Orioles made it to the Division Series against the Yankees, but lost in five games.
Wieters is a free agent for the second straight season. A year ago, he surprised many observers by accepting a qualifying offer. Even if that option is available to him next month, he may choose to explore other options after eight season with the Orioles.
“I didn’t know going out of last year what the future was going to hold for me this year. I can’t imagine anything better than this right here except for doing it after a World Series with these guys,” Wieters said.
Adam Jones, who along with J.J. Hardy, will be the only Orioles regular to play in all three postseasons, was as always, thoroughly enjoying himself.
“We’re a little older and a little more veteran. The experience in this locker room has helped us win,” Jones said.
Few preseason prognosticators predicted that the Orioles would end the regular season with a chance to play on. The team didn’t have enough starting pitching and relied too much on the home run.
“People say that every single year, I really don’t know why, but for some reason they like picking against us. It’s fine with us. We’re kind of used to it. But this team is a lot of fun and we have a lot of quality guys,” Gausman said.
Jones enjoys tweaking those who doubt the Orioles.
“We just proved ourselves right. I don't think we cared about anyone else’s thoughts, we got to play the game no matter what others say. You got to get between the lines and these men right here showed up every single day. Sometimes it wasn’t pretty, I wasn’t pretty. But at the end of the day we got the job done,” Jones said.