On couches all over Baltimore,
As the night crept into early Friday morning, the Orioles' bats finally showed a much-needed sign of life. Hardy's double to left drove in Manny Machado, and the O's forced a decisive Game 5 of the
The Orioles spent the second half of the season chasing the Yankees. In 22 games this year, each team has won 11. And now Friday’s Game 5 will decide who moves on to face the
“You knew all along that the road to where we want to try to get is going to have to pass through here,” Orioles manager
The Orioles battled from the brink of elimination in their 20thextra-inning game of the season. They are now 8-0 in games that last 13 innings or more.
"I think we were all expecting this," Hardy said of playing a decisive Game 5 in the Bronx.
Said Yankees shortstop
After spending the first four innings spoiling scoring opportunities, the Orioles had just two runners in scoring position after the fourth inning – Machado after his leadoff double in the 13thand Hardy after he doubled to drive him in.
Hardy roped a 2-2 slider from Yankees right-hander
Showalter emptied his bullpen, as seven relievers combined to throw 7 1/3 scoreless innings.
Pitching for the first time in eight days, displaced setup man
"The whole regular season we've been involved in those kind of games," Strop said. "We're been in a lot of tough situations. We've played in a lot of extra-inning games, a lot of one-run games. It's the situation you're used to pitching in."
Strop, who was a dependable eighth-inning man for most of the season until suffering some late-season struggles, entered the game with a 6.35 ERA in seven appearances against the Yankees, walking nine and allowing seven hits. Strop hadn't pitched more than one inning since May 6.
"We've been practicing all year for this game," said reliever Darren O'Day, who threw 2 2/3 scoreless extra innings. "We've had a lot of rehearsals.
"Pedro went out there and pitched two innings when every pitch can [end] the game, the season," added O'Day, who has pitched in all five of the Orioles' postseason games, throwing seven scoreless innings and allowing just one hit. "It's the first playoff appearance of his career and he went out there and shoved for two innings. It's been a constant theme this year of guys stepping up in big situations like that."
The Orioles needed 4 hours, 31 minutes to win, and for most of that time, their bats were amazingly ineffective. After Nate McLouth's homer to open the fifth inning, the Orioles were just 4-for-30 for the rest of the game.
"It feels kind of normal, playing close games late, long games," McLouth said. "Our bullpen kept throwing up zeros, and that was impressive. We've played so many of those games that, we haven't come to expect it, we're comfortable in those situations."
The Orioles were just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position for the night and are 1-for-16 in the ALDS games here at Yankee Stadium. The Orioles are hitting just .194 (6-for-31) through the first four games of the series.
The Orioles struggled to break through against Yankees starter
The O's put runners on first and second two batters into the game and couldn't score.
They had runners at second and third with no outs in the third after a leadoff walk to Machado and a double by McLouth but couldn't bring home a run.
And in the fourth, the Orioles had runners at first and third with two outs, but Machado struck out.
In the fifth, McLouth took a 1-2 fastball from Hughes into the right-field stands for his first career postseason homer to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, McLouth -- who won a
Nix rifled a ball in the left-center-field gap that McLouth made a leaping catch on just in front of the fence. Catcher
Showalter entrusted left-hander
Saunders, who held the
"It's fun and it's tense at the same time," Saunders said. "I came back out [to the dugout] in the 10th or 11th and it felt like I had pitched yesterday. So it's just one of those nights where it was a total team effort and we scratched out a victory."
Over the first four games of the ALDS, Orioles starting pitchers have pitched to a 1.78 ERA (six earned runs in 30 1/3 innings).
Saunders, who struck out five and walked four, allowed at least one base runner in every inning. After he allowed a leadoff double to Nix in the third, he struck out the side -- getting Jeter,
The Yankees tied the game on
The Orioles' bend-but-don't-break bullpen got out of that jam, too. Left-hander
And now for the third time in eight days, the Orioles will play in a game they must win to continue their magical season.
"This team has been doing that the whole year," Saunders said. "Ever since I've come over here we've been scratching out extra-inning victories and that happened tonight. It was a good win. We needed it so we could play [Friday]. We've got a tough task ahead of us. And hopefully we can pull a victory [Friday]."