Six months ago, the Baltimore Orioles were ending spring training as the consensus pick for their fifth consecutive AL East last place finish.It was a sure thing that the Orioles would finish with a losing record for the 15th straight season.Six months later, the Orioles have astounded and excited a fan base so used to watching a losing team that they didnt really notice what was happening until late in the season.On Sunday, the Orioles capped this remarkable story by nearly clinching their first postseason spot in 15 years with a 6-3 win over the Boston Red Sox before 41,217 at Oriole Park.The fans packed the ballpark ready to celebratefinally.They waited along with the team while watching the Los Angeles Angels-Texas Rangers game on the scoreboard. The Orioles gathered on the field to watch the conclusion of the Angels-Rangers game on the scoreboard. When Los Angeles went ahead in the ninth inning, they walked off the field, their magic number for a playoff berth still at one.The celebration would have to wait.The Orioles and Yankees began Sunday in a first-place tie for the AL East lead. New York was at Toronto. The Orioles (92-67) scored three runs in the first off overmatched rookie Zach Stewart (1-4). Nate McLouth led off with his seventh home run of the year. A second run scored on a double play grounder by Matt Wieters with the bases loaded. Jim Thomes RBI single made it 3-0.J.J. Hardy led off the third with his 22nd home run. Thomes second RBI single gave the Orioles a 5-0 advantage.Joe Saunders (3-3) pitched 7 13 for the win. He allowed three runs on eight hits, striking out five and walking none.Boston (69-90) scored on Cody Ross leadoff home run in the fourth and a two-run homer by Daniel Nava in the seventh.Chris Davis hit his fourth home run in as many days in the sixth, his 31st of the season.Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his 50th save of the season.
Orioles reduce magic number to 1 with 6-3 win
September 30, 2012, 8:16 pm