BALTIMORE — Winning 16 straight extra-inning games last season, the Baltimore Orioles managed to write chapter after chapter of unforgettable endings.
But Thursday night’s first extra-inning game of the season, a 10-inning 10-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, might have topped them all.
For those remaining of the announced 13,986, the image of Matt Wieters watching his towering flyball land in the right-center field seats of Camden Yards for the Orioles’ first walk-off grand slam in 14 years will be etched in minds.
It was an exciting ending to a back-and-forth game and series against their AL East rivals.
The win gave the Orioles their second series victory against the Rays this season — they also took two of three in the season-opening series at Tropicana Field — and three series wins in four early-season AL East matchups.
With the bases loaded, Wieters took a first-pitch delivery from reliever Brandon Gomes high into the Baltimore sky, flipped his bat and ended his home-run trot into a pile assembled at home.
It was Baltimore’s first game-ending grand slam since Harold Baines did it on May 5, 1999 against the Chicago White Sox.
And it came just more than a year after Wieters hit a grand slam to seal the Orioles’ first extra-inning win last season, a 10-4 win against the White Sox in Chicago last April 16.
Nick Markakis opened the 10th inning with a single, Manny Machado reached on a bunt single that hugged the first base line and Adam Jones hit a long single off the right-field wall to set the stage for Wieters.