By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
6:00 AM EDT, June 25, 2012
The excitement that filled Camden Yards this weekend for the Orioles’ three-game series against the Nationals didn’t go unnoticed by Orioles players.
They didn’t see the crowded Oriole Park concourse full of orange and red – mostly orange – or get a good look at the rows of standing-room fans in the flag court and behind the bullpens. But the Orioles could definitely feel it.
“I’m not going to jinx neither of us, but this was like a playoff atmosphere, every game,” Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. “They get a hit, their fans go crazy. We get a hit, our fans go crazy. It was good to see. You look at the numbers and neither team hit anything this series. All three of them were quality games and one hit could have changed any of the games. That’s really what you want.”
The first two games of the series were sellouts, and the three-game series was the most highly attended at Camden Yards this season, averaging 44,661 a game. Compare that the 30,391 average for last year’s three-game series here against the Nats.
Yes, this is the first time both teams have been competitive at the same time, and the beltway baseball rivalry is still developing, but this weekend still marked a humongous step forward for two rebuilding franchises that have made baseball take notice in this season’s first half.
And this weekend, they made baseball take notice together – equally captivating with stellar pitching, timely hitting and exciting plotlines.
"Our staff pitched a hell of a series, their staff pitched a hell of a series," Jones said. "All the games were decided by less than two runs. I think it was good for baseball. It was good for us to get the series win. I’m not a big fan of giving other teams credit. That ain’t my style. But both staffs pitched really well. That staff is dirty over there."
And the fact that the Orioles were able to take two of three here from the Nats – and four of six in the season series – goes a long way for the Orioles.
“Yeah, it was a well-pitched series, a well-played series,” said catcher Matt Wieters, whose eighth-inning two-run homer was the different. “That's something that's great to be able to get two out of three and taking a win into an off day is always nice.”
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