NEW YORK – Their jet was ready, their bags packed. The Orioles were convinced they were heading to Detroit to begin the American League Championship Series on Saturday.
Instead it was a quick flight to Baltimore and a head start on winter.
The Orioles hardly hit against the New York Yankees in their American League Division Series. The Yankees hit just a little bit more and will host the Tigers in the ALCS beginning on Saturday.
CC Sabathia’s complete game sent them home. New York won the Division Series 3-2, and Sabathia won two of the games. He won 3-1 on Friday before 47,081 at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles batted just .187 in these five games, with all their big hitters—Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado hit below that. Chris Davis hit just .200.
“It’s unfortunate that five guys got cold at the wrong time,” Jones said.
Only Nate McLouth, who went 7-for-22, could have been considered a threat.
“We're disappointed we didn't get to where we wanted to be,” Davis
“But we made a lot of strides. We felt like we had a good team coming out of spring training no matter what everybody else told us. I feel like we defied all odds and played some good baseball this year. It's something to be proud of."
The Orioles, who had long been irrelevant on the national scene, had hoped to win more than they lost for the first time in 15 years. Not only did they do that, but won 93 games and three more in the postseason.
“We'll see them again. It's been about as much fun as I have had in the big leagues watching how they play the game every day, the standard they held themselves to and the way they raised the bar in Baltimore with each other,” manager Buck Showalter said.
While the Orioles markedly improved, they weren’t good enough to beat the Yankees.
The teams split the season series 9-9 and the first four of the Division Series.
In the fifth, Sabathia threw a complete game four-hitter. He allowed just one hit in the first seven innings. The Orioles pieced together a run on three hits in the eighth, but left the bases loaded.
“We could have won the other three games. He didn't pitch all five, but it certainly felt like it, didn't it?” Showalter said.
Jason Hammel worked 5 2/3 innings, giving up an RBI single to Raul Ibanez in the fifth and a run-scoring double by Ichiro Suzuki in the sixth.
“The way the games played out I don't think experience played into it too much at all,” Hammel said
“It was everybody just playing the best they could, and we came out on the losing end unfortunately.”
Curtis Granderson hit a home run in the seventh for the third run.
Sabathia plowed through the Orioles in order, retiring the first nine batters before McLouth singled to start the fourth.
Hammel retired 12 straight before Mark Teixeira led off the fifth with a base hit. With Reynolds not holding him on, Teixeira stole second. He had just two steals in the regular season. Ibanez singled to score Teixeira.
In the sixth, McLouth hit a long fly ball to right that was called foul. After Showalter argued, the umpires reviewed the call, and affirmed it. Television replays showed that the ball may have ticked the foul pole, but the call stood. On the next pitch, McLouth struck out.
“I couldn’t tell. I was satisfied. I still have not seen the replay but he was a lot closer than I was. They took a look at it and I was satisfied after they took a look at it that it was foul,” McLouth said.
In the bottom of the sixth, Derek Jeter walked with one out and scored on Suzuki’s double for New York’s second run.
Wieters singled to start the eighth. Machado walked and Reynolds was struck out. Lew Ford singled to score Wieters. Robert Andino reached on an infield hit to load the bases. McLouth struck out and Hardy grounded to short, ending any Orioles hope.
Jones, who was just 2-for-26 in the postseason, flied out to start the ninth. Chris Davis struck out and Wieters grounded back to Sabathia as many of the Orioles stayed at the railing to watch the Yankees celebrate.
“We made it to the playoffs and nobody expected that. We pushed the Yankees to five games. Nobody expected us to beat Texas on the road. Overall, it's not the final result we wanted, but we're going to regroup and get ready for another 162," Reynolds said.