Last night's Orioles' win in Boston felt like an exorcism.
It was the O's first game against the Red Sox and in Fewnway Park since the Mother's Day Meltdown. And like that day, Baltimore led all the way headed into the ninth behind the gritty effort of its starting pitcher -- this time Erik Bedard rather than Jeremy Guthrie. And like that day, the game was in the hands of the bullpen at the end. And like that day, the Red Sox were poised for a comeback in the ninth bringing the winning run to the plate with one out.
But unlike that day in May, an Orioles relief pitcher, this time Jamie Walker in the role of closer, slammed the door on Boston getting two groundouts with runners at first and second and then at the corners to hold onto a 5-3 win over the Red Sox. Actually, it was a 5-3 win over the Boston Big Papis. Until the ninth, David Ortiz had Boston's only three hits, including two home runs.
I realize, it can be foolish to make too much out a single game over the course of 162 but unquestionable some do stand out. And if Mother's Day, when the Orioles blew a five-run lead to lose 6-5, represented what proved to be the unfortunate defining moment of the Sam Perlozzo era, then perhaps last night can be a pivot point as well. The Orioles are 12-5 since the All-Star Break and have won eight of their last 10. To be sure, that still leaves them five games under .500, but they're playing with some confidence and swagger and considering the events of May 13 and the tailspin that eventually followed, that's a vast improvement.
Coincidentally, team president Andy McPhail announced that Dave Trembley will stay on as manager for the rest of the season and the trading deadline passed without any Baltimore involvement. So what you see, folks, is what you've got until the offseason.
* With three major league milestones on the line last night, none were reached. The most disappointing had to be Tom Glavine failing to get his 300th victory. The Mets' starter had a 2-1 lead after seven innings against the Brewers in Milwaukee, but the New York bullpen hiccuped and the Mets lost, 4-2, in 13 innings.
The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, just one home run short of 500, saw seven teammates hit eight home runs in a 16-3 rout of the White Sox, but failed to join them.
And in Los Angeles, Barry Bonds went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks in the Giants' 3-1 win over the Dodgers. Bonds is one short of tying Hank Aaron's all-time home run record of 755. Since he hit No. 754, Bonds has had 16 plate appearances and has been walked seven times.