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Orioles' Steve Wilkerson Becomes 1st Position Player to Earn Save

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2019

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Stevie Wilkerson throws to the plate as he pitches during the 16th inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Friday, July 26, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Baltimore Orioles utility man Steve Wilkerson became the first position player in MLB history to record a save, which came Thursday night against the Los Angeles Angels in a 16-inning thriller.

Wilkerson threw 14 pitches in a perfect inning, retiring Brian Goodwin, Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols in the 10-8 victory.

Below is a closer look at the right-hander's performance:

David Adler @_dadler

Stevie Wilkerson closed out the Angels in the 16th inning throwing 55 mph lobs. His average velo was 54.3. Pretty hilarious. https://t.co/zREuhXGtYj

Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports

Here is a graph of Stevie Wilkerson's pitch velocity during his *historic save*. Averaged 54.3 mph. Got. The. Job. Done. Baseball, folks! https://t.co/KL03tj9zBh

As manager Brandon Hyde said after the game, "It's below hitting speed [55 mph or so], so that's hard."

Thursday night was not the first time this season Wilkerson has pitched. In fact, it was the third time in the last two weeks he has taken the mound.

He previously threw a perfect inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 12 and allowed one run on two hits in two innings against the Boston Red Sox on July 20. While those appearances came during blowout losses for the 33-69 O's, he realized as the night went on he may be called upon.

"I knew we were running thin on guys," Wilkerson said after the six-hour, 19-minute battle. "I knew it was a possibility when the game was getting late."

It's not often that a player who goes 1-for-7 at the plate is the story of the game, but unusual circumstances allowed Wilkerson to be one of the heroes Thursday.

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"I don't think I've wrapped my head around it yet," he told reporters.

Saves did not become an official statistic until 1969.

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