video thumbnail

LAA@BAL: Machado makes an amazing play to nab Pujols

BALTIMORE -- Eventually, the Orioles' extra-inning magic had to come to an end. Even as Thursday night dragged on toward midnight and the O's struggled to score a run, there was that glimmer of hope that they would break through for an eighth consecutive extra-inning win.

For 12 innings, Baltimore held the Angels off the Camden Yards scoreboard. For 13 innings, the Angels did the same to the O's. An RBI single by Albert Pujols in the top of the 13th was enough to decide a 1-0 Angels victory in front of 24,974.

"You'd always like to take advantage of a game pitched that well," manager Buck Showalter said. "But they pitched that well, too.

The Orioles managed just five hits in the game and their top five hitters went a combined 1-for-25 with three walks as Baltimore (60-47) missed a chance to sweep the Angels (64-43) for the first time since 2012.

For the first three frames of extra innings, the O's stout bullpen held off a potent Los Angeles offense. Tommy Hunter froze Mike Trout for a strikeout to end the 10th and retired Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Erick Aybar in order in the 11th. Even Ryan Webb, who eventually surrendered the winning run, tossed a scoreless 12th and allowed just one hit during that frame.

In the 13th, however, he wasn't as lucky. Webb (3-2) walked leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun on four pitches. Trout and Pujols then followed with a pair of singles and Los Angeles had the first and only run of the game.

"You never want to be the one to give it up in a game like that," Webb said. "It sucks, but you can't walk the leadoff guy in an inning like that, especially with those guys coming up."

With the Orioles' offense struggling on Thursday, one run was enough. For 4 2/3 innings, Tyler Skaggs completely vexed Baltimore and even after he exited with left forearm tightness and a no-hitter in the works, the O's couldn't sustain much offense.

Catcher Caleb Joseph broke up the Halos' no-hitter immediately after Skaggs left, but the Orioles managed only one more hit during the first nine innings.

"I don't know if a break is the right word because the back end of their bullpen is really good," Joseph said. "I mean, every arm they have down there is really good."

Mike Morin, who allowed Joseph's hit, didn't allow another in 1 1/3 innings. Kevin Jepsen followed with a hitless frame. Joe Smith and Cory Rasmus each allowed one hit to help the game make it to extras and Hector Santiago (3-7) yielded two before Huston Street shut the door in the 13th for his fourth save since joining the Angels.

Bud Norris' seven shutout innings weren't as pretty as Skaggs' 4 2/3, but the O's starter did enough to keep the game scoreless through seven innings and set up another strong effort from the bullpen. Norris allowed eight hits, walked a batter and hit another with a pitch, and still kept a dangerous Los Angeles offense off the board.

The Orioles pitchers also had the help of Manny Machado's typical defensive heroics. In the 11th, the third baseman once again ranged into foul territory for a backhand stop to rob Pujols of extra bases and start the inning with a groundout.

"At the end of the day you need to stay positive," Pujols said. "You've got nine guys on the field for a reason. They're going to make plays. Sometimes you're going to sneak one by, other times they're going to make the play."

In his next at-bat, Pujols went away from Machado and delivered the game-winning RBI up the middle for a one-run victory.

Despite the loss, Baltimore finishes the season with four wins in six tries against the Halos -- one of just two teams in the Majors with a better record than the O's. The last four have been decided by one run. All were decided by two runs or fewer.

The close wins aren't a matter of the Orioles being fortunate, they're just the natural result of winning games between two of the best teams in baseball.

"Fortunate? No," Showalter said. "We think we can compete with them and we did."

MLB.com Comments