The Orioles’ season has been a rollercoaster of emotions on the field, from the Opening Day blowout loss against the Red Sox, to the series sweep over the Nationals held up by a malfunctioning tarp.
Tuesday in Philadelphia, the Orioles played their craziest game of the season. At least, as it related to in-game activities.
The Orioles trailed early, rallied to tie it and later took the lead, blew the lead, took the lead again, let the Phillies tie it, then won the game off an inside-the-park home run from Austin Hays in the top of the 10th inning.
Somehow, the Orioles earned a 10-9 win over the Phillies in extra innings in a game that put the Orioles over .500 on the season.
“It felt like a boxing match, honestly, from the eighth inning on,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Felt like we gave a blow, took a blow, who could get that last out? That was the feeling. Travis Lakins came in and got the last out. This has been a very unusual year, it’s been an unusual season so far — we’ve seen some things we haven’t seen in a while. Probably won’t be the last time.”
Hyde was right when he said things happened that they, frankly, wouldn’t see for a long time again.
Hays’ inside-the-park home run gave the Orioles a 10-8 lead in the top of the 10th inning, the first team inside-the-park home run since Sept. 2011, when Robert Andino accomplished the feat.
With a runner on second base to start extra innings as part of the league’s new extra innings rule, Hays hit a sharp line drive to centerfield. There, Phillies centerfielder Roman Quinn made an aggressive play on the ball and tried to make a diving catch to prevent Andrew Velazquez, on second base, from scoring.
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Quinn’s diving attempt missed, as the ball went all the way to the wall.
“I actually didn’t think that he had any chance at all to catch it when I first hit it,” Hays said. “I thought it was going to be just a one-hop line drive to him. And I saw him start to lay out and I thought he was going to catch it. It was actually really close...I saw the ball go by him and it was off to the races after that. I was just sniffing an inside-the-parker the whole way.”
Inside the clubhouse, Orioles starting pitcher Alex Cobb reacted just as a fan would.
“When that pop-up dropped, I was banging on lockers,” Cobb said. “We were all screaming. We had a good group of guys in there, players that had been out of the game, and we turned into fanboys. It was awesome. Rooting hard for your guys. It’s a lot of fun to be able to watch Lakins finish it off and go high-five everybody afterward.”
Cobb threw well in 5 ⅓ innings with just three hits and two earned runs allowed, but left the game in-line for the loss after 71 pitches. The Orioles offense bailed him out in the sixth inning with three runs to tie the game. From there, it looked like the Orioles had things in order as a Hanser Alberto double and Anthony Santander single gave the Orioles a 5-3 lead entering the bottom of the eighth inning.
But home runs by Bryce Harper and Jean Segura gave the Phillies a 6-5 lead in the ninth.
The Orioles tied the game on a single from Renato Nunez, and the inning appeared to be over when Pedro Severino hit an infield pop up into the dark Philadelphia night.
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The Phillies infield, however, botched it, as a hit ball with an expected batting average of .000 according to statcast, dropped to give the Orioles a 8-6 lead.
“Probably the most up and down game I’ve been a part of in a long time,” Cobb said.
The Phillies tied the game in the ninth inning, which only seemed fair, as Hays’ inside-the-park home run an inning later lifted the Orioles to a one-run win in what was, admittedly, a game not likely to be replicated for a long time.
But if there were a year for even crazier things to happen, it’s 2020.
“I think that game had a little bit of everything,” Hyde said. “I just told Cobb that was a great job. It feels like it was five hours ago when he pitched. I just felt like it was a gutsy performance by our club. I thought it was just a grind out mentality. I thought we had great at-bats...Just a great team win. Just a persevering, gutsy, grind out team win.”
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