Through the first 88 games of the season, the Baltimore Orioles are 40-48. While the record isn't good, O's fans can't expect much more out of this team. The rotation is shaken up. It features a struggling Jeremy Guthrie, rookies Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken, David Hernandez, and veteran Rich Hill. The bullpen has been shaken by injuries. Matt Albers, Chris Ray, Dennis Sarfate are among the O's relievers who have visited the DL. In Sarfate and Ray's case, they're still on the disabled list.
Even on losing teams, there are moments, games, and individual performances that stand out. Let's take a look at those for the O's first half, shall we?
Top Ten Games
No. 10 - April 14th: O's defeat Rangers, 7-5. An Adam Jones homer proved to be the difference in this game. In a back-and-forth affair, the Baltimore Orioles outslugged the Texas Rangers, 7-5. With rookie Alfredo Simon on the mound, it appeared that it would be the way before the game even started. In the first, Cruz allowed a homer to third baseman Michael Young, and after an Aubrey Huff in the second tied it, Simon allowed home runs to both Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis, and left with injuries.
After Jones singled a run in to cut it to 3-2, Luke Scott homered to dead center, tying matters at three apiece. From there, it was a battle of the bullpens, and until the top of the 10th, the game was scoreless. Adam Jones hit his first homer of the year to the left field seats, followed by a two-run double by Scott, making it 7-3. But with the Rangers offense, nothing is over. An Ian Kinsler single and Josh Hamilton forceout made it 7-5, and Hank Blalock and Nelson Cruz both hit deep fly balls to the outfield, but both landed in the gloves of O's outfielders, and the Birds took the win.
No. 9 - June 18th: O's defeat Mets, 5-4. Not often do the O's win after trailing through eight innings. Especially not with Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez on the mound. He has that nickname for a reason. And also not when the O's lead off the 9th inning with the 8-9-1 hitters up. This game was a very close affair. In the 3rd, the O's received a very unlikely source of power, getting a homer from Robert Andino off Livan Hernandez. In the 5th, Brian Roberts doubled Matt Wieters in, making it 2-0. With the way Jason Berken was rolling (one hit allowed through five), that looked to be enough. Not so fast.
In the 6th and 7th, Berken allowed a combined four runs, and the Mets had a relatively safe 4-2 lead, with the way Livan was pitching, and also the way the O's were hitting. But in the 8th, a Luke Scott groundout made it 4-3. In the 9th, K-Rod would come in, which came as unfortunate news for the O's. However, Matt Wieters led off with a double, and after Nolan Reimold walked, Brian Roberts bunted safely for a base hit. After that, K-Rod was done. Adam Jones walked, tying the score, and an Aubrey Huff single won the ballgame.
No. 8 - June 7th: O's defeat Mariners, 1-0. I had to put the only 1-0 victory the O's have on the year. There's not much to say about this game. Rich Hill pitched a gem, as did Jarrod Washburn. Hill pitched seven shutout frames, allowing two hits, walking three, and striking out seven. All night, he did a spectacular job mixing up his nasty curveball and actually throwing his fastball for strikes, something he's had significant trouble with his entire career, and has prevented him from great success.
The O's only run was in the sixth, when Aubrey Huff hit a sacrifice fly, scoring former Mariner top prospect Adam Jones. That was a nice piece of revenge, as was George Sherrill notching the save, and giving the O's the first game of the series. It was the only win the O's would get that three-game matchup, but it was definitely a sweet win for the Orioles.
No. 7 - April 13th: O's defeat Rangers, 10-9. I'd be foolish not to put this game in here. In his second start, Koji Uehara struggled mightily, allowign seven runs on seven hits over five shaky innings, to say the least. Despite being primarily a strike thrower, he walked four and struck out just three, and only went through the fifth, and that's not what the O's needed against a Rangers offense. However, the O's offense was incredibly hot early in the year, scoring five in the fourth inning, three more in the fifth, and from there, it was a game of holding on.
The reason this game is on here is because of the excitement the O's bullpen added to it. With a 10-4 lead in the 5th, the game seemed rather irrelevant. But in the 6th, the Rangers knocked on the door, scoring three more runs, making it 10-7. The next inning, the Rangers scored twice more, making it a one-run ballgame. This is when it got interesting, as if it wasn't already. George Sherrill came on for the 9th, and got a pair of deep flyouts, ending the game. He always seems to make it exciting.
No. 6 - July 11th: O's defeat Blue Jays, 4-3. Despite this game being only a night old, it has to be one of the most exciting games of the young baseball season. Going in, it wasn't looking to be a very good game for the O's. Rich Hill, who had an ERA above thirteen for the previous three starts, would take the ball for the O's against Toronto hurler Ricky Romero, who had an ERA below three coming into the contest. Both starters pitched well. Romero labored through eight, allowing three runs. Rich Hill finally showed command of his pitches, walking one and allowing two runs through six frames.
The O's scored in the second, when Matt Wieters blooped a double to center, scoring Ty Wigginton. The Birds got on the board again in the fourth, when Luke Scott hit his team-leading 18th home run. The Jays tied it in the fourth, when Marco Scutaro and Aaron Hill both got hits to tie matters at two apiece. In the 6th, the O's took the lead, when Aubrey Huff doubled in Markakis. In the 8th, the Jays managed to tie it again, when Scott Rolen hit a sacrifice fly, and from then, it was a battle of the bullpens.
Through the 11th, neither pen was flawless. In the top of the 11th, a Scott Rolen single and Alex Rios hit put runners at the corners with just one out. But, Brian Bass struck out Kevin Millar and got Rod Barajas out. Then, in the bottom of the 11th, a Ty Wigginton double play ended a potential winning run. In the 12th, Luke Scott led off with an ugly strikeout, but then, the seemingly helpless Melvin Mora hit a home run to the opposite field, ending the game. It was his first home run in 50 games.
No. 5 - July 8th: O's defeat Mariners, 5-3. This game was very intense. David Hernandez and Jason Vargas both pitched workmanlike games. Neither was flawless. In fact, both combined for zero 1-2-3 innings. However, their stuff was good enough to get out of the innings when needed, and both gave their respective teams a chance to win. In the bottom of the first, Hernandez showed little command of his breaking ball, and gave up a home run to second baseman Jose Lopez, giving the M's a 2-0 lead. With the way the O's were hitting, that looked to be enough.
In the 7th, the O's had an incredible chance to break the game open. Miguel Batista started the inning for the M's, allowing a single to Gregg Zaun, then walking Oscar Salazar and allowing Adam Jones to reach on an error by third baseman Chris Woodward that looked like an easy 5-3 double play. Then, the M's brought in former Oriole Garrett Olson. Olson in Baltimore was known for his inability to keep the ball in the park, and with Nick Markakis and Ty Wigginton up, that boded well for Baltimore. However, Markakis struck out on a pitch in the dirt and Wigginton grounded into a routine 6-4-3 double play. But that's not all. In the 8th, the M's got an insurance run when shortstop Oscar Salazar made an error, making it 3-0. This game is over, right? Right? Wrong.
The M's would bring in closer David Aardsma, who had been lights out. However, Melvin Mora led off with a double. Gregg Zaun walked. An Oscar Salazar single loaded the bases for Adam Jones, who tapped a grounder to the third base side that was botched yet again by Woodward, making it 3-1. Markakis then hit a tailor-made 5-4-3 double play, but Jose Lopez booted it, making it 3-2, with no outs and the bases juiced. Ty Wigginton lined a single up the middle, giving the O's a 4-3 lead, and another error by Lopez made it 5-3 O's. George Sherrill got two outs, then allowed a single to Ichiro. Ken Griffey Jr. would pinch hit for Chris Woodward. This game was far from over. Griffey, still a home run threat, was the tying run. But, on the first pitch, he grounded out. That's your ballgame, folks.
No. 4 - May 22nd: O's defeat Nationals, 4-2. Normally, the Battle of the Beltway (Baltimore Orioles/Washington Nationals) wouldn't be very interesting. Both teams have bad starting pitching and inconsistent bullpens, along with good offenses, so this game should be a 12-11 slugfest, right? Wrong. This game actually featured a pitchers' duel between Jordan Zimmermann (Nationals) and Rich Hill (Orioles). Zimmermann only made one real bad pitch, and that was crushed into the left field seats by rookie Nolan Reimold. An Adam Jones single in the 3rd gave the O's a 2-0 lead, and with the way Hill was pitching, the game looked to be in the win column for the O's, and even if Hill struggled, the Nats bullpen is horrible.
In the 4th inning, Hill gave up a two-run homer to star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, tying the game at two all. From there, it was a battle of two very bad bullpens. After Hill left the game (5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K), the O's would depend on their pen to keep the team in the game against a dreadful Washington bullpen. Zimmermann lasted seven innings, allowing six hits, two runs, one walk, and seven strikeouts. For the O's, Matt Albers, Jim Johnson, and Danys Baez combined for five and a third innings, allowing one hit, one walk, and three strikeouts. For Washington, Ron Villone, Jason Bergmann and Joe Beimel combined for three innings of shutout ball.
That's when relief pitcher Danys Baez started a rally. With Kip Wells on the mound, Baez, who had pitched two perfect innings up to that point, tapped a swinging bunt, reaching first base safely. After that, the game was changed. Brian Roberts doubled Baez to third. Adam Jones then doubled them both in, winning the game, 4-2. This game featured a pitcher's duel between two teams with bad staffs, and also featured a pitcher starting a two out rally.
No. 3 - June 20th: O's defeat Phillies, 6-5. This game was very uplifting for the Baltimore Orioles and devastating for the Philadelphia Phillies. Going into the series, this is the game the O's had the best chance to win, looking at matchups. A red hot Brad Bergesen would take the mound for the O's. Through six, the O's were winning a pitchers' duel by a 3-0 score. The O's were getting on base against Phillies lefty J.A. Happ. In his six innings, he allowed ten hits, and walked four, but the O's only got two runs off him. While Bergesen has been incredible this year, he seems to struggle after sitting in the dugout through Oriole rallies for any considerable amount of time.
In the 7th, that was the case. In the top half, the O's loaded the bases, scored once, and nothing more. Bergesen was nearly flawless through six, allowing two hits and no runs. In the seventh, he was very bad. He allowed doubles to Shane Victorino and Chase Utley, a single to Matt Stairs, got Jayson Werth to pop out, but allowed an RBI single to Greg Dobbs. Then, Danys Baez came in and after getting Pedro Feliz to fly out, their were runners at 1st and 3rd and two out. Charlie Manuel then had Ryan Howard pinch hit for Paul Bako. Manager Dave Trembley made a questionable decision, pitching to Howard with pitcher Chad Durbin on deck.
You know Trembley regrets that decision. Howard absolutely crushed a home run to center, giving the Phillies a 5-3 lead. You wouldn't think the O's could come back from such a crushing blow. But the O's had shown great resilience throughout interleague, and it was no exception here. With Brad Lidge on the DL, Ryan Madson was the Phils closer, and after allowing a homer to Gregg Zaun, it was 5-4 Phillies. After Nolan Reimold grounded out, Oscar Salazar got a seeing-eye single past second base. Up stepped Brian Roberts. Roberts battled Madson for a few pitches, and then the 5'9" switch hitting leadoff hitter smashed a home run to the right field seats, winning the game, 6-5. The Phillies crowd was stunned.
No. 2 - May 27th: O's defeat Blue Jays, 12-10. The Orioles have ha dsome tremendous comebacks throughout the year, and it's represented by the fact that this amazing 12-10 comeback victory comes in second for the best O's games of the year. Rich Hill would take on Roy Halladay, and it goes without saying as to who wins that matchup. Halladay, a Cy Young candidate every single year, wasn't vintage "Doc", allowing three runs in seven innings. However, he didn't need to be. Rich Hill was terrible. In three and a third innings, he allowed six hits, seven runs (six earned), and walked three batters. However, he was aided by a great O's offense.
After the fourth inning, it was 7-2 Jays. After the 6th, it was 8-3 Toronto. In the 8th, the O's got back in it when Chad Moeller got hit by pitch and Robert Andino singled to left, making it 8-5. At least the O's were making it close. But that wasn't enough. A Brian Roberts sacrifice fly made it 8-6, and Adam Jones, who has been so clutch all year long, made it 8-7 with an RBI single. Nick Markakis doubled to deep right field, and after Andino scored, Jones attempted to come home and score. However, Alex Rios threw A.J. out at home, keeping the score at eight apiece. As it is in most of these games, it would be a battle of the bullpen. Neither was very good.
In the 11th, Danys Baez allowed a two-run homer to Aaron Hill, the All Star second baseman who went 2-for-6 with two RBI that day. It was 10-8 Jays, and you couldn't expect the O's to win this one. You couldn't expect it. But not much coming from the O's this year is out of the expected. This team has done some great things all year long. A Luke Scott single made it 10-9, and Nolan Reimold, who was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts his first two at bats, lined a three-run shot just over the left field wall, winning the game, 12-10, and completing the sweep.
No. 1 - June 30th: O's defeat Red Sox, 11-10. I'd be foolish to say this isn't the No. 1 Orioles game of the year. The Baltimore Orioles never match up well with the Boston Red Sox. The Sox are a very disciplined team. They hustle, pitch well, and they can hit home runs with the best of them. They showed that early in a June 30th matchup with the O's. Rich Hill was on the mound against John Smoltz, making just his second start of the year. Hill gave in immediately. In the first, he allowed a homer to Kevin Youkilis, giving Boston a 2-0 lead. Two more runs scored the next inning, when Dustin Pedroia doubled in Jeff Bailey and Julio Lugo. After the O's got a run in the third on a Felix Pie triple, Jacoby Ellsbury got it right back to lead off the 4th, crushing a homer to right field.
That was just the start of things for Boston. Youkilis doubled, David Ortiz singled, Jason Varitek got "hit by pitch", though by replay, it's obvious he faked. However, the umpire didn't make a call, and it was 8-1. Ellsbury batted again in that inning, singling in Jason Bay. After a Pedroia single the next inning, it was 10-1. That's when a rain delay helped the O's. The game was delayed for one hour and 19 minutes, and when the O's came back, they looked a lot more driven offensively. A Luke Scott double made it 10-2, and an Oscar Salazar pinch hit three-run home run made it 10-5. All of the sudden, it was a game.
Felix Pie singled later in the inning, scoring Robert Andino, and if the Sox weren't careful, it would become a save situation. The next inning, Boston pinned their hopes on Hideki Okajima. Okajima allowed an RBI single to rookie phenom Matt Wieters, then a sac fly to Ty Wigginton, and a sharp single off the bat of Brian Roberts. All of the sudden, it was a 10-9 game. The Sox brang in their closer, Jonathan Papelbon, who has been dominant all year long. After striking out Felix Pie, things weren't looking up for Baltimore. That's when Nick Markakis lifted them, lining an opposite field double, scoring Roberts and pinch runner - and pitcher - Jeremy Guthrie, giving the O's the lead, and eventually, the 11-10 victory.
Top Ten Individual Performances
No. 10 - Nick Markakis on April 8th: 3-for-3, HR, walk, single, 3 RBI. Nick Markakis has been pretty consistent all year long at the plate and in the field, but showed he can do no wrong at the plate on April 8th against Chien Ming Wang and the New York Yankees. In his first at bat, an Adam Jones double gave Markakis and RBI chance, and he took advantage, doubling to right, scoring Jones. In the fourth, Markakis crushed a homer to right field, giving the O's a commanding 7-1 lead. The O's would proceed to win the ballgame, 7-5, claiming the opening series against the Bronx Bombers.
No. 9 - Adam Jones on April 6th: 3-for-3, triple, 2 RBI, walk, 3 runs. The triple off the bat of Adam Jones against Yankees millionaire ace C.C. Sabathia may still bring smiles to the faces of O's fans everywhere. Adam Jones came off a good rookie season for the O's in 2008 resurgent to break out in 2009. And so far, he has. On Opening Day, it was only a sign of things to come. In his first at bat, he showed his improved plate discipline, taking a walk from the tall lefty. In the third, he stepped up with runners on first and second and no outs. Jones tripled into the right center field gap, and scored on a Nick Markakis sac fly, giving the O's a 3-1 lead. Two more hits, another RBI, and two runs gave A.J. a perfect game.
No. 8 - Adam Jones on May 12th: 2-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI. If I had to choose one of Adam Jones' many great games this year, this may be the best one. In a win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Jones tortured Tampa Bay's pitching. In his first at bat, he slugged a homer to deep center off Andy Sonnanstine. After Mark Hendrickson blew the 1-0 lead, allowing five runs in the top of the second, Jones came back with two on and two out in a 5-3 game. He crushed a home run to deep left field, giving the O's a 6-5 lead in the 2nd inning. From there, the O's would roll. The Rays didn't score again, and the O's beat them, 7-5.
No. 7 - Robert Andino on May 27th: 4-for-5, 4 singles, RBI. In a 12-10 victory, the guy who stepped up big time was shortstop Robert Andino. The backup came in to a day game against Roy Halladay, and completely owned him. Yes, Robert Andino owns Roy Halladay. The backup shortstop who is currently hitting .228 with one homer and eight RBI had the game of his life. He singled in the third, fifth, seventh, and even drove in a run with a single in the 8th, cutting the deficit to 8-5. Andino's day was huge for the club, and he anchored a 12-10 comeback victory.
No. 6 - Brad Bergesen on June 9th: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. The O's seem to have a lot of good performances against the Seattle Mariners, odd considering the M's have won five of the nine games this year in which the teams have met. In a June 9th start against Seattle, Bergesen was nothing short of dominant. In a 3-1 win, the rookie pitched eight innings, allowing five hits, no runs, no walks, and six strikeouts. He only had 97 pitches through eight, and one could make an argument that Bergesen could've gone the distance. Heck, in the eighth inning, he was still pounding the zone, and allowed one hit, but it was to the hits machine known as Ichiro.
No. 5 - Ty Wigginton on June 14th: 3-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, walk, 4 runs. So far this year, third baseman/first baseman Ty Wigginton has been an odd case. Known throughout baseball as a slow starter, "Wiggi" was hititng just .212 through May 12th. However, on June 14th, he didn't look at all like a power hitter flirting with the Mendoza Line. He would face Derek Lowe, a ground ball pitcher. This wouldn't bode well with Wiggi, who tends to ground into a lot of double plays. But, on this day, Wigginton was 3-for-4, slugged two homers, driving in four, and scoring four times as well. He hit a homer to deep left in the first, and then crushed one to dead center in the 5th in an 11-2 victory over Atlanta.
No. 4 - Nick Markakis on April 21st: 4-for-4, double, 2 RBI, 4 runs. In his first four years in the majors, right fielder Nick Markakis has taken Major League Baseball by storm. On April 21st, he took the Chicago White Sox by storm. In Brad Bergesen's MLB debut, Markakis provided all the offense "Bergy" would need. In his first at bat, he blooped a single to left, but was stranded. In the 3rd, he singled again, and scored on a two out Aubrey Huff two-run shot. After Chicago took a 3-2 lead in the fifth, a Markakis double scored Brian Roberts, tying matters at three apiece, and Nick would come around to score on a Luke Scott single. A single the next inning gave Markakis his 4th RBI, and the O's won, 10-3.
No. 3 - Luke Scott on May 29th: 3-for-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 runs. On highly touted catching prospect Matt Wieters' debut, designated hitter/outfielder Luke Scott stole the show. Out May 11th-27th with an elbow strain, Scott returned the previous day, hitting a home run, and followed it up with a perfect game against Dontrelle Willis and the Detroit Tigers. In Scott's first at bat, he singled. The next inning, he came up with the bases loaded and two outs, and crushed a home run over the right field scoreboard, giving Baltimore a 5-0 advantage. Scott got another home run later, and it was his third in two games.
No. 2 - Rich Hill on June 1st: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K. This is another big performance against the M's. In the O's only 1-0 win on the year, Hill pitched brilliantly. Traded from the Cubs to the O's during the 2008 offseason, the lefty struggled with fastball command all year long. That was the case early against Seattle. After a leadoff triple by Ichiro, but after getting out of it, there was no stopping Hill. The next six innings, he allowed two hits, and no runs. In the game, he pitched a gem, earning a closely contested 1-0 win.
No. 1 - Luke Scott on July 7th: 3-for-4, HR, triple, double, 7 RBI. This has to be one of the most amazing performances in recent memory. In a 12-4 win over the Seattle Mariners, Luke Scott himself could've won the game. In his first at bat, he singled up the middle on an 0-2 pitch against lefty Erik Bedard, and an errant throw by center fielder Franklin Gutierrez scored two runs. Two at bats later, a two run double misjudged by Gutierrez extended the O's lead an gave Scott four RBI on the night, certainly a big game in itself. But that wasn't enough. In his next at bat, he hit a huge three-run shot, making it 12-3 O's and giving the DH seven RBI.
Top Ten Moments
No. 10 - Nick Markakis robs Michael Young of extra base hit, saves game. While Markakis is very good at the plate, with 57 RBI and a sub-.300 average at the break, he's even better defensively. Last year, he had 17 assists, and was clearly snubbed of a Gold Glove in right field. In a 10-9 game, the Texas Rangers had one final chance in the bottom of the ninth against Orioles closer George Sherrill. After leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler doubled, star veteran Michael Young crushed a ball to right field, sending Markakis to the wall.
Markakis timed his jump flawlessly, making the catch, crashing into the wall, and saving the O's from a heartbreaking walkoff defeat. The O's won the game, 10-9, and worked their way to a series win. Had Markakis not made the catch, the game would've been tied. And with the Rangers big bats up next, Texas likely would've come out with the victory. However, Markakis made the catch, and the O's came out with the victory.
No. 9 - In a loss, Markakis crushes grand slam to dead center. This has to be one of the more embarassing losses of the year, but there was a bright spot in the play of Nick Markakis. After two bases loaded walks and Brian Roberts single, Nick Markakis would have the bases loaded against a wild Brad Penny. Nick Markakis got the strike he was looking for, and didn't waste any time.
Penny threw a pitch right down the middle, clearly a mistake to a hot Markakis, who slugged it to dead center over the Fenway Park wall. It gave the O's a 7-0 lead at the time. Now, the O's would lose the game by a 10-8 score, but it was definitely a moment that will not be forgotten.
No. 8 - Adam Jones robs Kevin Youkilis of a HR, making the play of the year. So far, this is the O's best defensive play of the year. Jones, a 23-year old All Star center fielder, has played marvelous center field thus far. With power hitter Kevin Youkilis at the plate, O's fans were biting their nails. "Youk" has a tendency to absolutely kill Orioles pitchers. As if he doesn't kill everyone else.
With Jason Berken on the mound, Youkilis crushed a ball to center field. Jones timed his leap perfectly and made the jump. As announcer Gary Thorne said: "Jones is back, at the wall, up, and goodbye, home run. No! He caught it!" Jones made a play that Torii Hunter would make, which is why some compare Jones to the latter.
No. 7 - Nolan Reimold becomes first rookie to hit a first career HR of Mo Rivera. Not many players can say they homered off Mariano Rivera, point black, end of story. However, O's rookie Nolan Reimold is the only player in baseball history who can say they hit their first career homer off Rivera, and it was a bomb. In an otherwise irrelevant game, one in which the O's were winning 11-3, Reimold provided the O's with one bright spot.
Reimold saw a pitch he liked, and he showed what he can potentially do with pitches he thinks he can hit. Even pitches from Mariano Rivera. Reimold crushed a home run to center field, making it 11-4. The O's still lost the game, but Reimold showed how good he can be in the major leagues, and hopefully, it's the first of many.
No. 6 - Oscar Salazar turns the momentum with a pinch hit 3-R HR. A pinch hit three run homer that cut a 10-2 deficit to 10-5 doesn't seem too significant when you think about it. But the way this home run completely changed the game does it for me. Salazar came off the bench against Justin Masterson and crushed a three-run homer over the left field wall, making it 10-5. Doesn't seem too special does it? Wrong.
After the homer, there was no looking back for the O's. They scored one more run in that inning, and scored five more the next to win the game, 11-10, staging the largest comeback in franchise history. A three run home run from a backup infielder to cut the score to a five-run deficit changed it all. Don't thank Nick Markakis. Thank Oscar Salazar.
No. 5 - Melvin Mora snaps homerless streak, hits walkoff to beat Toronto. This may not be the most important moment, but it's very significant, if you think about it. Melvin Mora came into a Saturday night matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays without a home run in fifty games, which is surprising, considering Mora hit 23 homers and drove in 104 in 2008. He has shown little production in the five hole for most of the year.
However, in the 12th inning, against Toronto reliever Jesse Carlson, that all changed. Mora saw a pitch, and then roped a shot to right field just enough to win the ballgame, 4-3. “It’s a good feeling, especially when you win the game,” said Mora, whose previous longest stretch without a homer was 43 games.
No. 4 - Rookie phenom Matt Wieters hits first career home run. O's fans have waited for this kid for so long. The rookie catcher, often referred to as the "switch hitting Jesus", has done a very solid job at the plate thus far. It started in Baltimore, where he went 0-for-4 against Detroit, but would rebound and go 2-for-4 the very next night. In a 6-4 victory over the New York Mets, Wieters had his shining moment.
After fellow rookie Nolan Reimold got on, Wieters hit what looked like a fly ball to the opposite field. However, Wieters was strong enough to get it just over the left field wall, making it 2-0. Since then, Wieters has looked a lot more comfortabale with the bat in his hands.
No. 3 - Roberts wins game with two run homer off Phillies closer Ryan Madson. The O's had suffered a crushing blow early in the game. Leading 3-2 in the 7th, Danys Baez relieved Brad Bergesen, who, as always, gave the O's a great chance to win. However, Baez allowed a three-run home run that was crushed to dead center, giving the Phils a 5-3 lead. The O's went down 1-2-3 in the eighth, but didn't put up such a feble cry in the 9th.
Catcher Gregg Zaun hit a liner into the right field stands off closer Ryan Madson, making it 5-4. After pinch hitter Oscar Salazar got a seeing eye single past second base, Brian Roberts would step to the plate. Roberts battled the closer for a few pitches, and then crushed a pitch over the right field wall, making it 6-5, and Baltimore won by that score.
No. 2 - Rookie Nolan Reimold hits a three-run walkoff homer to defeat the Jays. In a game in which Rich Hill would match up against Roy Halladay, all was not well for the Baltimore Orioles. The O's took the first two games of the series, but in the 7th inning, the O's were trailing Toronto by a score of 8-3 in the eighth inning. After the inning was over, it was 8-8, and soon after, the game was headed into extra innings. An Aaron Hill home run made it 10-8 Jays in the 11th.
But with the O's, hope was not lost. A Luke Scott single made it a one-run game. Then, rookie outfielder Nolan Reimold stepped to the plate. Reimold was ugly in his first two at bats, striking out each time. But not this time. A three-run homer won the game, and the O's swept the series.
No. 1 - Nick Markakis' opposite field double caps the ten-run comeback. One of the most dominant closers in all of baseball, Jonathan Papelbon was in the game. After coming back from 10-1 to make it a 10-9 deficit, Nick Markakis would be up with two on and two out.
Papelbon had just come in the game to face Felix Pie, and struck him out with ease. Markakis didn't waste any time making his presence felt, roping an opposite field double. Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury raced to get the ball, but not before two runs scored, giving the O's an 11-10 lead, and they would win by that score.