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May 22, 2013

What You Need to Know

The No-Name O's

by Daniel Rathman


The Tuesday Takeaway
Saddled with a six-game losing streak, during which their closer, Jim Johnson, had blown as many saves as he did over all of last season, the Orioles badly needed a jolt last night. Baltimore’s playoff odds had plummeted by 17.3 percentage points over its skid, which dropped the Orioles’ record to 23-21 and left them five games behind the first-place Yankees.

So, on Tuesday night, Buck Showalter’s team did what it did down the stretch in 2012, when a 48-29 surge after the All-Star break brought the American League wild card to Baltimore. It got significant contributions from unexpected players—players that Dan Duquette and his staff unearthed from the scrap heap in the preceding months.

The two solo home runs that helped the O’s to erase a pair of one-run Yankee leads? Those came off the bat of Chris Dickerson, who spent the previous two years in the Yankees organization, most of them with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and signed a minor-league pact with the Orioles in January.

The seven innings of two-run ball that ensured those two big flies would be all the runs the Orioles would need to send the game to extra innings? Those came from the right arm of Miguel Gonzalez—fresh off the disabled list after nursing a blister on his thumb—a minor-league signee in March 2012, who earned his way into a full-time rotation job last summer.

The 10th-inning solo homer that walked the Orioles off with the victory, dealing a win to Johnson, who needed only eight pitches to finish the top half of the frame? That was authored by Nate McLouth, who has emerged as a surprisingly capable leadoff man, hitting .282/.366/.444 this season after joining the Orioles on a minor-league hitch last June and working his way back up to the majors.

Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and Matt Wieters went a combined 2-for-19. And the Orioles still managed to halt their tumble down the standings, climbing back to within four games of the Yankees and improving their ledger to 24-21 with a win that Dickerson himself said they “really needed.”

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<< Previous Article
The Lineup Card: 7 Bas... (05/22)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (05/21)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (05/23)
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Premium Article Raising Aces: This Jus... (05/22)

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