We hope you’ve been keeping a keen eye on the 2012 MLB postseason, which so far hasn’t been short on pitchers’ duels, walk-off home runs, and back-page debauchery. One of the most surprising stories, not just in October of course, has been the turnaround of the Baltimore Orioles. As much as I hate the word “storybook”, they’ve had that kind of a season, but their backs are up against the wall against the Yankees in tonight’s elimination Game 4.
Now, everybody in their lineup has basically been pretty content with folding — everyone, that is, except left fielder and leadoff man Nate McLouth. Regardless of whether or not the Orioles live to see a Game 5 (Editor’s note: they did) or if their season dies on the operating table tonight, McLouth can sleep easy tonight knowing he single-handedly kept his O’s in this game.
And he did it with a fifth inning he won’t soon forget. First, on the offensive:
That solo shot off of Phil Hughes opened up the scoring and equipped the Orioles with a 1-0 lead. Now, that’s all well and good, but even with the stellar pitching the O’s have gotten this October, one run is a dangerous margin against the New York Yankees.
In the bottom half of the frame, with Russell Martin on first and one out, Jayson Nix knocked a well hit ball to left-center that looked like a surefire extra base hit. But McLouth had other plans, and a run-scoring double quickly transformed into an inning-ending double play, thanks to some crafty acrobatics.
The Yankees knotted up the score an inning later, but they failed to capitalize in the eighth with runners on second and third and one out because, and you guessed it, A-Rod and Nick Swisher were up. Those guys aren’t very good in the playoffs, if you haven’t heard yet.
So bonus baseball is on tap in the Bronx for a second straight night, with McLouth and his O’s hanging on for dear October life.
[MLB, photo via Getty]