Two good Orioles endings

Good ending 1: The Orioles hang 3 runs on Mariano Rivera for the second time this year to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th, then win on a Melvin Mora bunt in the next frame, simultaneously clinching at least a tie in the season series and cementing the Yankees’ first second-place division finish since 1997. If that wasn’t enough, we got to beat up on Mike Mussina too. Rivera’s lifetime ERA against the O’s rises to a pedestrian 3.72. The three runs, by the way, were on a bases-clearing Jay Payton triple — his second triple of the night.

Good ending 2: Stat of the Day brings us the game of June 3, 1977; Royals catcher John Wathan comes up against the O’s Tippy Martinez, bottom of the 9th, Orioles up 7-5, but the Royals have the bases loaded and nobody out. Wathan hits a fly to right. Runner on third tags and scores. Runners on first and second tag too, but the throw from Pat Kelly comes in in time for Mark Belanger to tag the runner at second — now the runner on his way to third is caught in a rundown, and he’s out too. When the smoke clears, the Orioles have won the game 7-6, and Wathan has hit into a game-ending triple play and collected an RBI in the same at-bat!

There was something about Tippy that struck confusion into the minds of baserunners — let it never be forgotten that he is the only pitcher in the history of baseball to pick off the side. (The link is a beautiful account of this crazy game from Swing and a Miss— I implore you to follow the link and spend a little time with your 1983 World Champion Baltimore Orioles.)

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