NEW YORK – Whether the path of
But when it fell harmlessly into the second deck of seats as a foul ball, it was the beginning of the end to a season in which the
The Orioles' first postseason in 15 years ended with frigid bats on a cold New York night with a 3-1 loss to the
A team that opened the season as a 75-1 long shot to win the pennant put itself one win away from playing in the AL Championship Series for the first time since 1997. Through 168 games, this group of Orioles thrived on the notion they were never out of a game — through 17 extra-inning truimphs and 31 one-run wins.
But when catcher
Moments later, a fresh coat of paint was being applied to the postseason logos in front of both dugouts at Yankee Stadium. And manager
“It's not goodbye to this group, it's ‘See you later,'” Showalter said, his words slow and his eyes glassy. “I am not going into what was said to them, but I am sure they now think it's a little tougher on me than them. But they are a special group. You don't know how many times you are going to pass this way.
“We'll see them again,” Showalter continued. “It's been about as much fun as I have had in the big leagues, watching how they play the game every day, the standard they held themselves to and the way they raised the bar in Baltimore with each other.”
A year after losing 93 games, the Orioles won 93 in the regular season, taking their chase for an AL East title down to the final day. Together, they relished the role of underdog and came to New York with plans of writing another chapter of Oriole Magic against the 27-time world champion Yankees, a team they split 22 meetings with heading into Game 5.
Instead they had to settle for consolation prize — the satisfaction of bringing baseball excitement back to Baltimore.
“Today, we put the postscript on a season where we improved more than any team in baseball,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. “And we won 96 games, including three playoff games. We won a couple of playoff games before the end of the season. This team should be really proud of itself. We've a lot to look forward to ahead.”
The momentum of Game 5 turned on McLouth's shot down the right-field line with two outs in the sixth with the Orioles trailing 1-0. The ball sailed into the second deck of seats hugging the outside of the foul pole and was ruled foul, prompting a collective gasp from the announced crowd of 47,081.
Right-field umpire Fieldin Culbreth called the ball foul. Replays shown on
“I really do think it was a big momentum changer,” said McLouth, who hit .318 (7-for-22) in the series. “They had just scored the half inning before and that would have tied it. But in the end, our downfall was we just weren't able to get the big hit this series like we had so often.”
While the call would have tied the game, the Orioles' bats were silenced throughout the night by Sabathia, who held them to one run and four hits and struck out nine for a complete-game win. The big power bats of the Orioles, who were second to the Yankees in the AL in homers this season, froze during the entire series.
“[They're] a very good team that's going to be around for a long time,” Yankees center fielder
“We didn't get it done,” said Jones, who had a breakout season and was named Most Valuable Oriole. “No matter how you put it. You can say the pressure did this. Plain and simple, we didn't get it done.”
The Orioles scored their only run in the eighth on Lew Ford's one-out single to left off Sabathia, which scored Wieters from second.
The O's loaded the bases after
Teixeira, who had gone 35 postseason games without a stolen base, broke for second with Reynolds not holding him on first. Teixeira, who battled a calf injury late in the season, stole his first base since July 6 and his third of the year.
After inducing a 6-4-3 double play from
The Yankees added another run against Hammel in the sixth. Hammel issued a one-out walk to Jeter, which was followed by a double by
After Hammel struck out
Hammel , who battled back from tweaking his right knee to pitch in the postseason, allowed two runs on four hits over 52/3 innings, striking out six.
Granderson, who entered the night with 1 hit in 11 at bats in the series, took Patton deep in the sixth for his 6th career postseason homer, a solo shot into the second deck in right that made it 3-0.
In the tunnels underneath Yankee Stadium, Showalter emerged from his postgame news conference and immediately congratulated Yankees manager
In the Orioles clubhouse, where club managing partner
“We made it to the playoffs and nobody expected that. We pushed the Yankees to five games,” Reynolds said. “Nobody expected us to beat Texas on the road [in the wild-card game]. Overall, it's not the final result we wanted, but we're going to regroup and get ready for another 162.”
NEW YORK – Whether the path of