In the sixth inning of the Orioles' 5-0 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night came a rather surreal moment.
The Orioles pulled off a play that was, well, very Angel-like during this era under Mike Scioscia. And the Angels, well, they tripped and bumbled into a sequence that looked like it belonged on an Orioles' lowlight reel.
Ty Wigginton doubled to lead off the sixth with the Orioles up 2-0. With one out, Jake Fox hit a bouncer to the left of Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir, who grabbed the grounder. Problem was, Angels first baseman Mike Napoli was heading to his right for the ball, and there was no one covering first.
Fox and Wigginton both saw this – and their baseball instincts kicked into overdrive.
Fox sprinted to first base, sliding into the bag and accidentally upending a diving Kazmir.
"I just ran as hard as I could down the line, and he picked up the ball and was running after me. And as soon as I saw him start to dive, I kind of dove away from him and tried to keep my foot on the bag," Fox said. "It was kind of a mess. I was running over my head because everyone got there kind of at the same time. And it was just mayhem, a lot of guys falling everywhere."
Once Wigginton saw where the grounder was headed, he took off for third. But then he rounded the bag, while watching, anticipating what might happen.
"I saw the first baseman out of position and saw it was going to be a footrace," Wigginton said. "So I slowly crept down the line, and as soon as I saw them both go down, it was time to go."
Kazmir was on his back when he threw home, but Wigginton raced in for the Orioles' third run. In hindsight, the run didn't mean anything, because Kevin Millwood and Jim Johnson combined for a shutout.
But, then again, it did mean something. It was the exact kind of hustle play that Orioles fans love to see and, honestly, haven't seen a whole lot recently. Maybe it's the Buck Showalter Factor; maybe it was just two hard-nosed players doing what they do.
Regardless, it was good to see from the Orioles, who often are on the opposite side of such moments.
"We are playing hard, we are coming out and playing solid baseball and playing hard," Fox said, "and I think that is a solid recipe for success."
The seldom-used Fox couldn't have been more ecstatic about his seventh RBI of the season.
"It was definitely the luckiest RBI I have gotten this year. I think that was everything I had running down that first base line," Fox said. "I gave [Wigginton] a hug for scoring on that play. I told him I really appreciated it. Because RBIs these days are hard to come by, so anytime I can get one, I am pretty happy about it."