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Series finale loss doesn't dampen Orioles' spirits

By Eduardo A. Encina

The Baltimore Sun

September 6, 2012

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TORONTO -- There was no solemness in the Orioles clubhouse following their 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday night, unless you counted one player bemoaning one of his fantasy football wide receivers laying an egg on the first night of the NFL season.

Nope, these Orioles are still relaxed.

Yes, they were knocked out of first place with the loss and the Yankees' win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday. But this is a team that battled back from being 10 games behind seven weeks ago. One game isn't going to get them down.

Over the past 14 years, Wednesday's game was one Orioles fans have seen countless times. Great starting pitching performance falls flat in the late innings. And over that time, it would be another one of those "This is why the Orioles are so bad" losses.

Now, with this new sense of confidence that these Birds have, the attitude is, "That's a game we should have won, but we'll win it next time."

They're going into this weekend's series with the Yankees with a lot of confidence. They've taken three series from the Yankees in the Bronx, so it's easier to beat them at home, right?

Well, the Orioles did get swept at Camden Yards the first week of the season, but this is a much different Orioles team.

Around the clubhouse, it was well known that Thursday's series opener against the Yankees -- which is also Cal Ripken, Jr. staute night -- is sold out. A limited number of standing room only tickets will be sold before the game. Same thing with Saturday's game against the Yankees.

But there's been a good response here among the Orioles. You definitely sense they're excited about the prospect of coming home to play in front of a packed ballpark with the playoffs on the line.

"I’ve heard it’s sold out," Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds said about Thursday's game. "Hopefully, it’s all Orioles fans. When that place is sold out with Orioles fans, it’s a great atmosphere. I’m actually nervous out there playing in front of so many people. It’s fun and I’m looking forward to it and this whole weekend should be a great time."