Manny Machado’s first career walk-off home run in the 12th inning Tuesday lifted the Orioles to a 7-6 win over the Angels. The homer and the post-game pieing that followed was a fitting way to celebrate the four-year anniversary of Buck Showalter’s hiring, not that people really celebrate such things, especially not those of you who are here to remind me that this is the D.C. Sports Bog and Buck Showalter is a grade-A jerk.
Anyway, it was a fitting end because Baltimore has made a habit of winning extra-inning games under Showalter. The Orioles improved to a major-league best 12-3 in extra inning games this season and are 49-21 in extras since Showalter took the helm in 2010. (The Nationals are 38-41 in extra-inning games since 2010.)
In 2012, which culminated in the franchise’s first trip to the playoffs since 1997, Baltimore was a probability-defying 16-2 in extra-inning games and 29-9 in one-run games. Predictably, there was some serious regression last season.
“To do that, you’ve gotta have a real good effort out of your bullpen and we did tonight,” Showalter said of his team’s success after the ninth inning. ” … It would be a lot more enjoyable if you knew how it was going to turn out.”
Luck plays a large role in extra-innings, but I imagine there’s a growing sense among Orioles fans this season that they do know how the game is going to turn out when it’s tied after the ninth inning. It’s the same ‘Orioles Magic’ feeling from 2012 and it’s a great feeling to have.
(Showalter, for the record, has won more games (340) with the Orioles than with any of the other three teams he’s managed, which was somewhat surprising to me. Tuesday’s game was Showalter’s 648th with Baltimore, equaling the number of games he managed with Texas from 2003-06.)
Watch Machado throw his postgame pie at the Oriole Bird.