BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles have played in their share of extra-inning games this season, and when those times have come, the bats have usually come up big in the clutch.
Playing his first game in an Orioles uniform, Taylor Teagarden joined the party on Saturday.
Teagarden ended a 4-hour 43-minute marathon at Camden Yards with his first career walk-off homer, a two-run shot off Joaquin Benoit in the 13th inning to give the Orioles an 8-6 win over the Detroit Tigers.
It was the Orioles’ 10th straight extra-inning win and made the Orioles 35-0 when leading after eight innings, despite closer Jim Johnson blowing a save for the second time this season.
“This is a scratch and claw team,” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said. “There’s nobody in the dugout going, ‘Oh my goodness, we’re playing this many innings in this much heat.’ Everybody was enjoying it. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and they love the competition. Especially against a team with that type of talent, and quite frankly, that type of payroll.”
When Teagarden took Benoit’s 1-2 pitch to right field, he looked around for an umpire to signal it a home run, then trotted home, tossing his helmet before jumping into a mob at the plate.
Teagarden, who spent four seasons with the Texas Rangers, and had been out since spring training with a back injury, was activated hours earlier.
“It was a nice way to come back,” Teagarden said. “I was just happy to find out two weeks ago I was going to get a chance to come back to the team, and I was doing everything I could in the month of June to get back here. [I] had no timetable, going all the way back to March in terms of what I was dealing with with my back. Obviously things are working out and I just wanted to come back and contribute and help this team in any way.”
The Orioles were unable to preserve a fine start from left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, blowing a three-run ninth-inning lead. But the Tigers blew two one-run leads in extra innings.
The Orioles headed into the 13th inning trailing 6-5, thanks to Quintin Berry’s two-out RBI single off Matt Lindstrom.
But slumping shortstop J.J. Hardy tied the game with a towering solo homer to left, snapping an 0-for-28 slump.
With Adam Jones on first with out outs, Teagarden took Benoit’s 96-mph delivery the other way, giving a much-needed boost to an Orioles team that had lost 14 of its past 20 games.
“Never give up,” Hardy said. “We don’t like it. Obviously, we don’t want to play extra innings like that, but it’s a good feeling when you come out on top.”