ARLINGTON, Tex. The Orioles finally got to celebrate. As soon as their improbable Wild Card win was complete, the Champagne flowed.The New York Yankees could wait. The partying began and the first time partyers doused each other.Jim Thome, whos been through more of these celebrations than anyone, ran around the Orioles clubhouse, goggles on, spraying everyone in sight.The Orioles advanced to the American League Division Series with a 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers before a stunned crowd of 46,831 at Rangers Ballpark on Friday night.On Sunday night at 6:15 p.m., the Orioles will try and stun the Yankees, against whom theyve split 18 games this season.The Yankees are next, but weve going to enjoy tonight. Well worry about the Yankees tomorrow. We need to enjoy this, Adam Jones said. This teams special. Its a special feeling.Jones is the teams most visible player, but even some nonparticipants joined in the celebration.Nick Markakis, whose broken thumb prevented him from playing the last four weeks, didnt let that stop him for celebrating. Markakis and Brian Roberts, out after hip surgery, whove endured 17 years of losing, joined the team party.Ten minutes after the final out, the floor was covered in plastic, Champagne and beer. Pedro Strop and Robert Andino led the team in dance and song, and in his first year in the U.S., Wei-Yin Chen sang along the loudest.This is a terrific team because they can win the games when they need to be won, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said.Moments earlier, Duquette and manager Buck Showalter, shared a long embrace. Duquette, out of the game for a decade before his surprise hiring nearly a year ago and Showalter, who won his first postseason game since 1995 were drenched by countless Orioles.Showalter defeated the team that fired him in 2006, sending him into a nearly four-year managerial exile. Now he faces the team that he managed from 1992-95.Im all for irony, Showalter said.Youve got to seize the opportunity. We dont get many.Against a team which outscored them by more than two to one during the regular season, the Orioles held the highest scoring team in baseball to just a run and no extra-inning hits to capture the first American League Wild Card game.Joe Saunders with an 0-6 record and a 9.38 ERA in his six previous starts in Rangers Ballpark, pitched into the sixth inning, and the bullpen again was outstanding.I was due, Saunders said.Nobody believes in us, but we believe in ourselves.The win sets up the Orioles first home playoff game in 15 years when they host New York on Sunday.The second game is Monday night, and then the best-of-five AL Divisional Series will shift to New York on Wednesday.Saunders left with a 2-1 lead after two were out in the sixth. Darren ODay retired six of his seven hitters in two innings. Brian Matusz struck out Josh Hamilton to end the eighth. Hamilton is now 0-for-10 against Matusz with six punchouts.Jim Johnson loaded the bases in the ninth and got Daniel Murphy on a fly to Nate McLouth in left to end it.The Orioles started quickly in the first against Yu Darvish. McLouth reached on an error by first baseman Michael Young. He stole second and scored on J.J. Hardys single.In the bottom of the first, Saunders walked leadoff batter Ian Kinsler. He moved to third on Elvis Andrus single and scored when Hamilton hit into a double play.Hardy and Chris Davis singled to begin the sixth. Jones sacrifice fly scored Hardy to make it 2-1.Saunders reversed his awful record in Arlington, allowing a run on six hits in 5 23 innings. He walked one and struck out four.In the seventh, Ryan Flaherty singled with one out. Robert Andino pinch-ran and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Derek Holland relieved Darvish, and McLouth singled for a 3-1 lead.ODay allowed just an infield single in the eighth, equaling his season high by pitching two innings.
The Orioles added two runs in the ninth against Joe Nathan. Thome walked, and with one out, Andino doubled him to third. Lew Ford ran for Thome and scored on Manny Machados single. McLouths sacrifice fly scored Andino.Texas beat the Orioles in five of seven games and handily led the AL West for most of the season before losing seven of their last nine.
The Orioles sent them home.
After 15 years, postseason baseball returns to Baltimore.This is something I needed to see, Roberts said. I would have hated to miss it and not to be a part of it.