Baltimore Orioles: Revealing Team's 10 Best Wins of 2012
Sometimes in the course of the roller-coaster season the Baltimore Orioles are having, it can challenge fans to recall some of this team's greatest wins of the season.
This is especially true when one considers the Birds have struggled to string together a serious chain of wins the past month or so.
Regardless of the team’s troubles, the Orioles are still in the thick of a huge fight for a postseason spot. This has been possible with 10 exciting wins that have helped Adam Jones and company remain in the hunt for October.
These Baltimore victories (plus one bonus win) are the subject of this slideshow.
April 6th: Opening Day 2012
Like Opening Day 2011, Opening Day 2012 was nothing less than spectacular.
With sunshine singing its praises over crystal clear Baltimore skies, near 50,000 strong piled into the brick and mortar fortress that is Camden Yards.
Anticipation built as the national anthem began. And animosity arose beyond Baltimore once again, as Orioles fans hollered “Oh!” near the end of the Star Spangled Banner.
Electricity rushing throughout the ballpark as the Orioles took the field for the first time against the Minnesota Twins. Lest we not forget about yet another streaker, Orioles hurler Jake Arrieta kicked the rubber as the Opening Day starter.
After Arrieta tossed a scoreless first inning, Nick Markakis sparked a fan frenzy in the bottom of the frame by depositing a two-run homer into the left field seats.
Three innings later, catcher Matt Wieters delivered an RBI groundout to give the Birds a 3-0 lead.
This would be all the run support Arrieta needed that day. For Arrieta dominated the Twins, surrendering no runs on just two hits in seven innings of work.
Jim Johnson earned his first save, as Baltimore got off to a great start to its season by beating Minnesota 4-2.
April 16th: Wieters Slams Chicago White Sox
Ten days later, Buck Showalter and his team were locked in a seesaw battle with the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Again, Arrieta pitched a gem. On this chilly night, he gave up just two earned runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings pitched.
But White Sox hurler Phil Humber pitched well enough to keep his team within striking distance.
With the score locked at four apiece, the Orioles and White Sox went to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th inning, Baltimore unleashed holy-lumber hell, scoring six runs on five hits. Wieters spread icing on the Birds' cake by delivering a grand slam to give the Orioles the victory.
Final score: Orioles 10, White Sox 4.
April 28th: O’s Club A’s on Robinson's Day
Frank Robinson is hands down one of Baltimore’s most iconic baseball players.
Deservingly so, on this fine spring day, Robinson was immortalized in bronze at Camden Yards, as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series.
As if this day could not have been any better, Robinson got to watch the Orioles annihilate the Oakland Athletics 10-1.
Led by Chris Davis’ 3-for-4, four-RBI performance, Baltimore pounded out nine runs on 12 hits in the first five innings.
Orioles rookie left-hander Wei-Yin Chen sailed through the A’s lineup, tossing seven strong innings in the victory.
May 6th: O’s Beat Red Sox at Fenway in 17
Davis struck again roughly a week later, this time at Fenway Park.
In what can best described as a wild affair, the Orioles and Red Sox traded barbs in one marathon of a ballgame.
By the top of the 16th inning, the Orioles had exhausted all their hurlers. With the game tied 6-6, Boston fans celebrated seemingly certain victory, as Chris Davis took to the mound for the Orioles.
However, much to the surprise of the Red Sox, Davis pitched through his first inning like a wily veteran.
This was not to say things did not get hairy for the Birds. With two outs, Orioles third baseman Wilson Betemit committed an error on a sharp ground ball hit by Marlon Byrd. Then Red Sox shortstop Aviles smacked a double off the left-center field wall, sending Byrd rounding third.
Fortunately for the Orioles, center fielder Jones fired a perfect relay to Hardy, who then fired a perfect strike to Wieters. In a mild collision at home plate, Wieters tagged Byrd for the third and final out.
In the bottom of the 16th inning, Boston (also out of pitchers) sent outfielder Darnell McDonald to the hill. This proved to be Boston’s demise, for Jones soon delivered a three-run home run over the Green Monster.
With a 9-6 lead, Baltimore's Davis returned to the mound to pitch the bottom of the 17th inning. While Boston threatened, Davis dug deep. After giving up a single and a walk, Davis struck out Adrian Gonzalez before getting McDonald to ground into a game-ending double play.
With the win, the Orioles swept the Red Sox and moved into first place in the AL East. The Orioles, who had won five of six games on this road trip, moved to 19-8, which was the team’s best start since 1968.
May 18: Mr. Markakis Goes to Washington
With hopes in Baltimore climbing, the Orioles faced off on May 18th against another truly surprising team—the Washington Nationals.
Entering this game at Nats Park, Washington had earned a 23-15 record. Baltimore was 25-14.
Taking the hill this night for the Orioles was Jake Arrieta.
Arrieta's foe—Edwin Jackson.
In a pitcher’s duel indeed, Arrieta and Jackson both surrendered one earned run apiece in bullpen-saving performances.
With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the 11th inning, Markakis thwacked a moonshot over the right field wall to give the Orioles a 2-1 victory over the Nats.
June 9th: Jones Gives Birds Huge Boost
This homer, which came in the bottom of the 12th inning off B.J. Rosenberg, came during a time when it seemed Baltimore had begun to slip. Entering action, the Orioles had lost seven of its last 10 games, falling to 32-26 in the process.
A true momentum changer, Jones’ walk off marked the beginning of a five-game winning streak that put Baltimore right back in the fight.
June 12th: Brian Roberts Returns to Action
Three days after Adam Jones’ monumental blast, Brian Roberts inspired Orioles fans at Camden Yards when he returned from a near-career ending concussion.
Only Jones enjoyed a better night offensively, going 4-for-5 with 2 RBI.
Chen picked up the victory for the Orioles, his sixth of the season. Johnson picked up his 19th save to give the Orioles a 35-26 record.
Unfortunately, Roberts could not stay healthy and is now lost for the season (hip), according to ESPN.
July 3rd: Chen Flirts with Perfection
On July 3rd, Mariners fans sighed and hollered, “Not again!” as Chen nearly tossed a perfect game in the same ballpark.
Orioles fans still up to watch this game sat on the edge of couches, as Chen retired the first 19 Seattle hitters.
With the way Chen ruled this game, it looked like he would become the first pitcher in Orioles history to throw a perfect game.
Sadly, with one swing, former Detroit Tigers outfielder Casper wells broke up Chen’s perfect game, no-hitter and shutout with a solo home run.
A standing ovation indeed, Chen went on to pitch seven strong innings, surrendering two earned runs on two hits while striking out nine.
Comically, Orioles reliever Darren O’Day earned the win for the club, despite pitching just 0.1 innings.
This victory came courtesy of Robert Andino, who smacked a solo shot to left in the top of the ninth inning.
Final score: Baltimore 5 Mariners 4.
July 6th: Orioles ‘Pearce’ Angels in Anaheim
While Pearce had struggled with his health and confidence in his career, he had pop in his lumber.
True, Pearce’s stint with Baltimore was rather unheralded. But on July 6th, Pearce was heroic.
In the midst of LA Angels phenom Mike Trout’s epic rise to stardom, Pearce stepped to the plate in the top of the fifth inning in Anaheim and smacked a three-run shot to give the Orioles a 3-2 victory.
Also impressive, Miguel Gonzalez pitched seven strong innings for Baltimore, earning the win in his big league debut.
For the Orioles, Gonzalez proved a blessing at the right time. At this point in the season, Baltimore’s starting pitchers were struggling mightily.
July 14th: Teagarden Plants Monster Seed
By July 14th, Baltimore was really struggling.
Plagued by poor pitching, anemic hitting and even worse defense, the Orioles limped into their game against the Detroit Tigers with a 45-41 record.
This game was a knock-down, drag-out fight, with neither team willing to surrender.
The Orioles carried a comfortable 4-1 lead going into the ninth inning. With surefire closer Jim Johnson on the hill, fans at Camden Yards stood ready to celebrate a win.
But Baltimore nearly watched its season crash to the ground, as the Tigers battled back to tie the game.
For the next four innings, this game went back-and-forth. The Tigers took the lead two separate times, only to watch Baltimore fight back.
Such was the case in the bottom of the 13th inning. After Tigers’ rookie Quintin Berry smacked an RBI single in the top of the frame to give the Tigers a 6-5 lead, J.J. Hardy walloped a solo homer off Joaquin Benoit to tie the game.
With two outs, Benoit hit Jones.
This set the stage for Taylor Teagarden, a relatively unknown catcher who once played for the Texas Rangers.
With fans on their feet, Teagarden hit a deep fly ball to right field. Like Hollywood, the ball rattled around just beyond the outfield wall.
And the Orioles defeated the Tigers in grand fashion 8-6.
Some fans around Baltimore say Teagarden’s home run may very well have saved the Orioles’ season.
While questionable, Teagarden’s walk off proved yet again that the game of baseball can be as unpredictable as Mother Nature.
And Now the Bonus Victory!
The July 31st trade deadline came and went for the Orioles, and Dan Duquette deemed it wise to stand pat.
Perhaps Baltimore's players were breathing a little easier after not being traded. Or perhaps some momentum had begun to build.
Whatever the reason, the Orioles looked like a team on a mission against the New York Yankees on this night.
Of course, life proved dreadful for Baltimore early in this game. New York shelled Chris Tillman early, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first frame.
But the resolute Orioles said, "KAPOW" in the second inning, dropping a touchdown and an extra point on Joe Girardi and Co.
With clutch hit after clutch hit, by the fifth inning, Baltimore built a 9-5 lead on the back of Tillman's resilience (and Davis' first career grand-slam).
The Orioles would later add two more runs on a Nick Markakis home run in the top of the eighth.
A refreshing statistic to see: This same Orioles team that struggled with RISP this year hit 6-14 (.429) with RISP in this 11-5 victory.
Tillman is now 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA for this 55-49 Orioles team.
In the last 10 games, Markakis is batting .395 with two home runs and five RBI.