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Hardy, Orioles beat Yankees in 13th, force Game 5

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Hardy, Orioles beat Yankees in 13th, force Game 5

NEW YORK (AP) Just maybe the Baltimore Orioles' remarkable run into October is not so improbable after all.

Seventeen wins in extra innings, 31 victories in one-run games. Staving off elimination from the postseason twice already.

They've done all that, and might not be done yet.

Bouncing back from a demoralizing defeat, the Orioles beat the New York Yankees 2-1 in, yep, 13 innings on J.J. Hardy's double in Game 4 of the division series Thursday night.

Now they get a chance to prove one more time that they're unflappable, in a winner-take-all Game 5 Friday.

``All these extra-inning games, all these close games. Obviously, it's fitting with the types of games we played all year,'' closer Jim Johnson said.

On Thursday they played past midnight, winning a test of wills with the high-priced Yankees for a chance at a spot in the AL championship series against Detroit.

Game 1 winner CC Sabathia was set to pitch the deciding game for the Yankees against Jason Hammel.

``It's time to go,'' Sabathia said. ``This is a one-game playoff, and this is what we play for. We're here in the Bronx at home, and like I said, I'll be excited and ready to go.''

The teams have already split 22 games this year, with New York outscoring Baltimore 103-101. And they have been tied or separated by one run going into the ninth inning of each of this series' four games.

With the innings and hours piling up, the Orioles were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position until Hardy doubled off David Phelps with one out to score Manny Machado, who had doubled.

``There hasn't been a whole lot of opportunities to score runs,'' Hardy said, ``so when there are those opportunities, I think we're trying a little bit too hard.''

Phelps had relieved in the 12th after Joba Chamberlain was hit by a flying broken bat, forcing him to leave with a bruised right elbow.

Johnson returned from allowing Raul Ibanez's pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning Wednesday to earn his second save in the series with a perfect 13th.

``I don't take for granted at any time what these guys are accomplishing so far,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ``They know that. I have so much respect for our guys.''

Hours after learning Joe Girardi had kept quiet that his father died last Saturday, the Yankees couldn't rally late. This time, Girardi called upon Eric Chavez to pinch hit for slumping Alex Rodriguez. He lined out to third base to end it.

Baltimore's win pushed all four division series to five games for the first time since the round began in 1995.

The Orioles have been pursuing the Yankees all season, cutting a 10-game deficit in July to zero in early September. Baltimore and New York were tied 10 times atop the East in the final month but the Yankees never completely relinquished the lead and wrapped up the division on the final night of the regular season.

Baltimore advanced to the division series with a win over the Texas Rangers in the wild-card playoff.

``You know, we played an elimination game last week to start our postseason. It's like a Game 7,'' reliever Darren O'Day said. ``I think we all got as much playoff experience as we need, especially considering how many times we've played them this year. And tonight was an elimination game and tomorrow will be another one.''

After dropping Game 1, the Orioles rebounded with another one-run win in a season in which they had the best record in the majors in such games at 31-10, 2-1 in this series. But they lost in stunning fashion in 12 innings Wednesday night, when Ibanez homered twice in his two at-bats after pinch-hitting for Rodriguez.

Didn't affect these late-inning savants.

They came right back Thursday for their first win in extras against the Yankees this year. They also lost twice to New York in extra innings in the regular season before going on a run of 16 straight victories after the ninth inning.

``We just kept telling ourselves, this is not the last night of the season,'' Hardy said.

It wasn't easy, though. Nate McLouth homered off Phil Hughes to start the fifth, but Baltimore wasted three shots with a runner on third base in the first four innings. They struggled against New York's bullpen.

McLouth also made a leaping catch against the left-field wall to save a run.

Matt Wieters knocked Chamberlain out of the game with a broken-bat single to lead off the 12th inning that struck his surgically repaired right elbow. Fans sat silent as Chamberlain bent over in pain. He was checked out by trainer Steve Donahue and Girardi.

Chamberlain tested the elbow with three pitches before walking off the field. X-rays were negative. He's not sure if he'll be available for Game 5.

``You kind of see how it feels and go from there,'' Chamberlain said. ``It's definitely not as stiff as it was when it first happened.''

Many of the Orioles gathered near their bat rack in the dugout for an impromptu cheer before the 13th and Machado then led off with a double.

One out later, Hardy hit a one-bouncer off the wall in left field for his first RBI of the series.

The hit came after another Orioles quirk - the players held Gatorade bottles and wiggled them in the dugout, trying to conjure up a rally.

Showalter professed confidence in the 51-save Johnson before the game. He backed it up by calling on him for his fourth appearance of the series. Johnson lost the opener after giving up five runs in the ninth and sandwiched saves around his trying homer to Ibanez.

Seven Baltimore relievers pitched 7 1-3 innings of four-hit ball.

``There's really good pitching,'' Girardi said. ``You're seeing some really good pitching in these four games.''

Baltimore needs it because its top hitters are missing a lot. Mark Reynolds is 3 for 16. Hardy is 3 for 18. Wieters is 2 for 17 and Adam Jones is 2 for 19.

The Yankees held a moment of silence for Girardi's dad, Jerry, who died Saturday at 81 and had a long bout with Alzheimer's. Joe Girardi stood alone in front of the Yankees dugout and wiped his eyes after the national anthem. He blew a kiss to someone in the stands, then fist bumped several coaches and players.

Facing elimination for the second time this postseason, Showalter turned again to Joe Saunders. Acquired by Baltimore on Aug. 26 from Arizona, Saunders pitched 5 2-3 innings of one-run ball in the wild-card win over Texas.

He was just as crafty against New York, engaging with Hughes in a duel of who could get out of the tougher jam.

The Yankees put a runner on in every inning against Saunders but failed to score until the sixth.

Derek Jeter lined an outside pitch to right field for a leadoff double in sixth, showing no ill effects of a bruised left foot that kept him from playing shortstop in the postseason for the first time in his career.

He advanced on Ichiro Suzuki's sacrifice and scored on Robinson Cano's grounder to second. Showalter then lifted Saunders for right-hander Tommy Hunter to face Rodriguez. A-Rod struck out to loud boos and tossed his bat.

Rodriguez is 2 for 16 (.125) with nine strikeouts in the series.

NOTES: Curtis Granderson has struck out nine times in 16 at-bats this postseason. ... Hughes and Saunders combined to walk seven after there were no walks Wednesday in 12 innings.

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

The Orioles have finally found their man.

After entering the Winter Meetings without having yet hired their new manager, a rarity in this era of baseball, the Orioles announced Friday that they had hired Brandon Hyde to fill the role.

Hyde joins the organization after spending half a decade in Chicago under Joe Maddon, and many years prior with the Marlins. He has a long background in player development, something that was important to new Orioles GM Mike Elias, which makes sense considering the state of the organization and their upcoming rebuilding process.

Hyde is 45, so he’ll have the opportunity to stick in Baltimore for a long time if he finds success, however, Elias defines it, in the next few seasons. Many times, the manager leading a team as it embarks on an organizational rebuild is not the same one who leads them back into contention, but the Orioles front office will certainly hope Hyde is up to both tasks.
 
“After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” said Mike Elias, Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager, in a statement released Friday.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and Major League coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a World Champion, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team.”

Elias was thought to have preferred someone with Major League experience, so as to avoid saddling an up-and-coming manager with multiple 90-plus loss seasons inevitably on the horizon in Baltimore. Hyde technically has experience coaching in the big leagues, though it comes in the form of a single game. The Marlins lost his one game as acting manager 2-1 to the Rays, and Jack McKeon was named interim manager the next day.

Maddon has developed a reputation as a stellar communicator and somebody open to analytics, and it stands to reason that Hyde would follow a similar style of leadership, especially considering how critical those traits are in the eyes of Elias.

Hyde replaces Buck Showalter, a beloved figure in Baltimore after his 8 ½ seasons at the helm brought winning baseball back to a city desperate for relevancy. Showalter’s contract was not renewed at the end of this past season, an understandable decision given his age and how long it will be until the franchise is ready to compete again.

Reports swirled about Hyde being named the 20th manager in franchise history as early as Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, though Elias and the front office were quick to emphasize that nothing was official at the time. In the end, Hyde does end up accepting the job, and he’ll be introduced at a press conference Monday.

Nationals bench coach Chip Hale was, along with Hyde, one of six finalists who interviewed for the position, so the Nats won’t be losing a valuable piece of their staff.

The Orioles are in the honeymoon phase of the rebuild, where hope springs eternal and the losses to come haven’t set in yet. Hyde checks all the boxes for what Elias was looking for, and despite his relative inexperience, he’s someone who should excite, if not necessarily inspire, the fanbase in Charm City.

Orioles fans won’t have many exciting acquisitions to cheer on in the near future, but they may have just made one of their most impactful. The O’s finally have their GM-Manager combination set for the foreseeable future, and they’ll hope to experience as much success and more as the previous regime.

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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USA Today Sports

Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

Orioles new general manager Mike Elias is a busy man out in Las Vegas. Not only is he looking to add much needed talent to Baltimore's roster but he is also searching for a new manager. Elias interviewed six candidates, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, for the vacancy. On Monday, Elias said they were “pretty far along in the process.”

Then the reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Orioles had found their man. 

For a second straight year, Joe Maddon's bench coach has landed a managerial job (Davey Martinez). 

But, in the words of College Gameday's Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!"

Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.