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Maybe it wasn't the most memorable game an Orioles team has ever played and its overall significance -- it got this team that's been bobbing at break-even all season back to a game over .500 -- may not turn out to be very great in the standings.

On the other hand, if you stuck with last night's 10-9 O's win over the Yankees in 11 innings, chances are that it will stick in your memory bank for a while and maybe it will become part of the adhesive that helps make this team become a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

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In my case, I started with the game the old-fashioned way, listening on the radio driving on I-95, including the remarkable Orioles' fifth inning when Melvin Mora, Luke Scott and Kevin Millar hit homers in the space of five at-bats. For Millar it was the second of the game and for the team, it was a total of five homers. And all I kept thinking with the game tied at 8-8 was how much of a shame it would be for this team, which has such a tough time mustering offense, to lose after hitting five home runs.

That's how you begin to think if you follow this team close enough, right?

By the seventh inning, I had switched to TV so I did get to see Brian Roberts' incredible double-play in the top of the 11th that kept the game close. Bases loaded with Yankees and no out. It was a wickedly sharp grounder that Roberts turned into an unusual 4-2-5 double play.  New York did move a run across for a 9-8 lead but the play kept the Orioles within striking distance -- and strike they did, loading the bases themselves with one out and the score tied 9-9. That's when Alex Cintron, who has all of 14 at-bats as an Oriole, won one of the team's most remarkable games in recent history with a fly ball single.

Again, if you stayed with this one, you'll remember it like a terrific movie for all the little things.  The Orioles coming back three times -- twice from four back. The nine homers, all of New York's by Yankee big names like Rodriguez and Giambi and Abreu and Damon. The hour-plus rain delay. Yankee Hideki Matsui's at-bat in a driving rain in the top of the ninth that ended in a line drive out to Millar with runners on second and third.

Certainly, baseball is a game where you turn the page quickly -- 162 games a season requires it.  But Orioles fans who saw last night's game, should return to this one in their thoughts and enjoy it over and over, and O's fans who are just hearing about it today, should hope that its effect remains with the team for a good long while.

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