Trey Mancini would visit Maryland every summer to visit his grandparents when he was a kid – his grandfather was a Baltimore Orioles’ season ticket holder. His mother was a Maryland native, giving Trey Maryland roots. So he probably followed the Orioles a bit, and perhaps even went to a game with his grandfather once or twice. Needless to say, he was probably familiar with what’s known in these parts as Orioles Magic.
What he didn’t know at the time was that he would end up being a part of that very magic of which I speak. However first the O’s had to get to the end of last night’s game, which in fact was largely dominated by Pittsburgh. Wade Miley was ineffective, evidenced by his early exit. Miley’s line: 2.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
In essence, Miley was getting too much of the plate – evidenced if anything by his four strikeouts. Many of his pitches were hanging right over the meat of the plate, which can be a recipie for disaster. Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead on Moroff’s two-RBI double in the second inning. The Birds cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on Kim’s sac fly-RBI.
Pittsburgh extended their lead to 4-1 an inning later on an RBI-double by Diaz, and then they got what they thought were two insurance runs on a two-run homer by Osuna in the seventh. In general, I’m the first one to tell you that comes across as a safe lead. But as Lee Corso says on ESPN’s College Gameday, “…not so fast!”
Adam Jones began the comeback bid in the last of the eighth with a solo homer that cut the lead to 6-2. As the game progressed to the last of the ninth, the Birds trailed by four. From Pittsburgh’s perspective they needed three outs before the O’s could score four runs. In general, I’ll take those odds every time – but not last night.
Rickard cut the lead to 6-3 with a sac fly-RBI, and Hardy drove in a fourth run with an RBI-double. That brought Mancini to the plate as a pinch hitter with two down, one on, and the O’s trailing by two. And that’s where the early strains of Orioles Magic began to resonate throughout Camden Yards.
Mancini’s two-run home run was perhaps the most improbable thing that could have happened. But it did, and it tied the score at six. And if you want something even more improbable, look at his next at-bat. Mancini came up with two on and two out in the last of the eleventh. A base hit would have won the game; instead, Mancini turned the Orioles Magic song on full blast and won the game with a walk off three-run homer to left field.
It’s moments like this which make baseball great. Not only did he save the day with his pinch hit homer previously, but he won it with a walk off shot. Good times for the Orioles, and good times for Trey Mancini.
The news wasn’t all good for the Birds however, as Manny Machado was forced out of the game with a gash on his wrist after being accidentally spiked on a stolen base attempt. X-rays were negative, however the Orioles are trying to get an MRI set up for today. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to play tonight in Washington, or when he’ll be available. If I were a betting man, I would expect to see him tonight.
When one player does so much to win one game like Mancini did last night, other contributions can often be overlooked. Mike Wright played a huge role in this game, keeping the score right where it was in the middle innings. Wright gave up one hit and struck out three over 3.1 innings of work. That kept Pittsburgh from extending their lead, and set the tone for the comeback later in the game.
The Orioles will now head down the pike to DC for a makeup game this evening. Alec Asher will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Joe Ross. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.