Orioles Clinch Playoffs; Sweep Red Sox

There were more kids under 14 years of age who had yet to see a winning season much less a playoff game from the Orioles than there were Red Sox fans at the game today.  In years past Red Sox fans outnumbered Oriole fans.  In years past it was the Orioles losing 90 games.  This year it is the Red Sox losing 90 games, the first time that has happened to them since 1966.  Red Sox fans now must ask themselves are we better off with Bobby Valentine as our manager next year, who has not brought us a winning season in his first year of managing, or should we try to bring back Terry Francona, who gave us two World Series championships?

It was a sea of orange as the Orioles swept the Red Sox with their 6-3 win.  James Johnson pitched the ninth inning to pick up his 50th save.  After the game, Oriole players gathered along the first base infield area to watch the top of the ninth inning of the Texas Rangers versus Los Angeles Angels game on the big screen with many of the 41,000 plus fans who had also chose to stay.  The Rangers were winning 4-3 and a victory by Texas would have resulted in a shared celebration with the fans.  With two outs Tori Hunter spoiled that party with his 2-run double off Joe Nathan to give the Angels a 5-4 win.  The O’s players filed back into the dugout and to their lockers.

The Rangers hung on and won the second game 8-7.  The O’s went through an emergency landing in Jacksonville on their way to Tampa for a three game series because of a fire on the airplane.  No word on whether that fire was caused because of a spontaneous celebration.  If I’m an Orioles I take the bus from Jacksonville to Tampa.

It was not a good day for Zach Stewart, who was one of the players the Red Sox acquired from the White Sox for Kevin Youkilus.  He gave up a leadoff homerun to Nate McLouth, then loaded the bases on two singles and a hit batsman.  He was fortunate Matt Wieters grounded into a double play, but a second runner scored on the hit.  Jim Thome poked one in the vacant shortstop spot, proving old dogs can learn new tricks, beating the shift and increasing the score to 3-0.

Stewart was gone before the third inning was done, giving up a leadoff homer to J.J. HardyAdam Jones bounced a single off Stewart’s leg, stole second and scored when Jim Thome lined a 2-out single past the diving second baseman in short right field.  The shortstop had shifted a bit more to the left field side prior to the hit.  The Orioles were up 5-0 and Stewart was gone.

Cody Ross launched a ball off Joe Saunders to lead off the fourth inning to give the Red Sox their first run.  In the fifth Chris Davis got that run back leading off the fifth inning with a homerun.  Davis had drove Clayton Mortenson’s first pitch foul over the right field bleachers and onto Eutaw Street.  On a 2-1 count he poked his 31st homer.

Daniel Nava got the Red Sox back to within three by hitting a 2-run shot in the seventh.  Red Sox fans began to hope after Pedro Ciriaco lined a single into center.  For whatever reason, Pedro broke for second and the throw from Wieters beat him by ten feet.  It was so bad, Pedro had the ability to stop and try to return to first, lasting more than the three throws required in a pickle before he was tagged out.  The Red Sox would get one more baserunner in the eighth but Dustin Pedroia was also thrown out stealing.  Wieters threw out Pedroia from the sitting position.

Bobby Valentin did pull a brilliant move in the seventh, but don’t tell him that.  He chose to walk Chris Davis intentionally with one out and Nate McLouth standing on third.  Myworld questioned the strategy, with Adam Jones more likely to make contact than Davis and with the speed to make it difficult to double him up.  The strategy paid off when Jones shot one to short and they turned the double play.  It would be the second of three double plays turned by Pedroia and Jose Iglesias.  Myworld has not seen a better double play combination than those two.

Game Notes: It was J.J. Hardy bobblehead day and Hardy hit one out to celebrate the event…The Red Sox smashed two homeruns.  The fans, including those along the third base line chanted for the ball to be thrown back.  The two fans who caught the ball threw the ball back out into left field.  The ball boy retrieved the ball, then gave it to a fan along the third base side, probably one of those same fans who were chanting “throw it back.”  They should just roll that ball into the dugout to be used as batting practice fodder and not hand it out to another fan…Adam Jones was announced as the writers player of the year.  It was stated Jones is the only player in the major leagues ever to hit three game winning homeruns in the 12th inning or later.  Since they used the term “game winning” myworld assumes one or more of those homers were not walkoffs…During the Kiss cam a man kissed his beer instead of the woman sitting next to him.  Since she was also smiling she must have been happy he preferred the beer can over her.  Or she was a very understanding wife or girlfriend.

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