Orioles believe their time has come
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Six hits. For 12 innings, all they could muster was six hits.
But when the Baltimore Orioles needed it most -- with the clock closing in on midnight and the seconds clicking down on their season -- they came up with two big doubles in the 13th inning to earn a 2-1 win over the Yankees Thursday night in Game 4 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium.
The winner of Friday's Game 5 will advance to the American League Championship Series against the Tigers, and after the game, Oriole after Oriole said there is no place this team would rather be.
"We've been practicing all year for this game," said Darren O'Day, who pitched 22/3 innings of scoreless relief. "We had a lot of rehearsals. We had a lot of guys stepping up. We knew every pitch could mean the game, the season, was over."
Said Manny Machado, who doubled and scored the winning run on J.J. Hardy's double to deep left: "No one was talking about going home. We all wanted to keep going."
It was a gutty victory for a team that had lost a heartbreaker the night before when Raul Ibañez homered in the ninth and 12th innings.
Manager Buck Showalter clearly was thrilled with how his team responded.
"I have so much respect for our guys," Showalter said. "They look at a night like tonight and tomorrow as an opportunity to shine and separate themselves. And so do the Yankees."
The Orioles had looked and sounded devastated after their Game 3 loss. But this is a team that fought through adversity all season and had to win a wild-card game in Texas in order to earn the right to face the Yankees.
The Yankees and Orioles have split their 22 games this year, so it seems only right that it comes down to a winner-take-all contest Friday.
"We're all very confident we can go ahead and win more," said Jason Hammel, who will start Game 5. "It's all or nothing, but there's no reason to pressure ourselves anymore. We've done this a million times this year. It seems like we've played these guys to a one-run game every time out. It's nothing new."