About last night: Three things to like and not like after 7-6 win in 13

I'm still trying to digest everything that happened in the Orioles' 7-6 victory in 13 innings over the Seattle Mariners last night. From blown saves to blown offensive opportunities to a bench-clearing incident to key plays at the plate, the game pretty much had it all. Here's a look at three things Orioles fans had to like after the win and three things not to like.



Orioles' resilience: OK, they are professionals and paid rather handsomely, so I guess I shouldn't be too effusive in my praise for the Orioles for not folding up shop after so many things went wrong. However, I've seen it happen so many times over the years where a blown lead or a botched scoring opportunity results in a bad loss. Between Michael Gonzalez blowing Jake Arrieta's lead and allowing three consecutive two-out hits, closer Kevin Gregg getting one out away from his seventh save before allowing Justin Smoak's game-tying hit and then the Orioles offense stranding 16 base runners and not scoring from the ninth through 12th innings despite having a runner on second with one out or fewer in every frame, there was ample reason for the Orioles to sulk. However, they kept grinding out quality at-bats until Matt Wieters got the game-winning hit. "We just stayed out there, and everybody believed we were going to win this game," center fielder Adam Jones said.

J.J. Hardy's return: Asked whether he could have drawn up his return from the disabled list any better, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy said: "It was pretty good. I'll take that." He was understating things slightly. Hardy homered in his first at-bat against big league pitching in 31 days and finished 4-for-5 with a walk. He also played solid defense and nearly made a superb catch to deny the Mariners the go-ahead run in the top of the 13th. While Robert Andino gave the Orioles a lift with Hardy on the disabled list, I like the Orioles' lineup a whole lot better with Hardy in it.


Felix Pie's energy and effort: Outfielder Felix Pie didn't start last night's game, but he made a huge impact after entering as a pinch runner in the eighth inning. Pie went 2-for-3, tied the game with an RBI single in the 13th and scored the winning run. He also incited a bench-clearing incident after he ran into Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak in front of first base. I've said this before, but Pie seems to be in the middle of everything when he plays. It's not always pretty or smart, but he makes things happen and he also manages to tick the other team off in the process, which I'm fine with. Smoak joins a list of people that Pie has irritated that includes pitchers A.J. Burnett and Mark Buehrle and Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia. But the important thing is that Pie's teammates have grown to love him, a major turnaround from how he was first perceived when he joined the club before the 2009 season. "He brings that excitement to the game," Jones said. "He has this huge smile. He's always laughing and joking around on the field. He's the same way in the clubhouse. When you get him fired up, it's a fun show to watch." Asked about Pie, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said: "I've been so proud of Felix's attitude through all this because he's been a great teammate and he keeps working hard every day. To see him get a result for it is gratifying for all of us." Can I suggest again that Pie gets in the lineup more?

Honorable mention: Jones' fine all-around game, Nick Markakis' 13th-inning at-bat off Brandon League, Jim Johnson's two dominant innings, Arrieta's quality start.


Brian Roberts' body language: Brian Roberts had two successful sacrifice bunts, but it was another hitless night overall as he went 0-for-5 to lower his batting average to .213. Roberts is 0-for-23 since his leadoff double last Wednesday, and he's just 1 for his past 31. Roberts seems to get down on himself and his game at times, and it's very apparent these days that he's ticked off and frustrated. If you talk to opposing players, coaches and scouts about Roberts, they'll tell you that when he is going well, he's one of the tougher outs in the game. But the rap on Roberts is that he gets in these slumps and his game goes south for a while. His body language also suffers, which is picked up on both by teammates and the opposition. All you needed to do was watch his reaction after he was fanned by former teammate Chris Ray with the bases loaded and two outs in the 12th to know what I'm talking about. With the Orioles' offense struggling, they need Roberts now more than ever. Every player goes through a hitting slump at some point, and Roberts is in the midst of one. But he can still do other things to help the team win.

Third base coach John Russell's decision-making: Showalter has told the story many times about the third base coach that bragged to him that he had a great year because he didn't have one guy thrown out at the plate. Showalter's response was: "No, you had a bad year." We get it: Showalter wants his third base coaches to be aggressive and push the envelope. He defended Russell last night, but I cannot imagine he was too pleased to see Hardy get thrown out by four steps trying to score the game-winning run with one out in the ninth inning on Markakis' single to left. Mariners outfielder Mike Wilson came up with the ball in relatively shallow left even before Hardy had reached third base, and it was apparent that Hardy felt that he would be held up. "I didn't realize I [slowed down], and I looked at the replay and I could see that I did," Hardy said. "I don't want to say it was a late call, but I guess it did surprise me a little bit." First of all, it would have taken Wilson to throw the ball to the backstop or into either dugout for Hardy to have scored. Second, the Orioles would have had men on first and third and one out with Derrek Lee at the plate if Hardy was held. And finally, do you really want the shortstop to get in a collision at home plate in his first game back after a month on the DL? I remember Andino getting thrown at the plate by a wide margin last week in Kansas City. I have no problem with aggressiveness, but guys getting thrown out by three or four steps is impossible to defend.

Mark Reynolds' struggles: I sort of wondered whether the Mariners were going to intentionally walk Wieters in the 13th and pitch to Mark Reynolds with two men on and the game tied. After all, Reynolds had gone 0-for-6 with two strikeouts and stranded seven base runners. Reynolds' average is down to .177, and his strikeout total is mounting, with 36 in 113 at-bats. He's 0-for-12 on this homestand. Showalter has stood by him and pointed out the positives, like his defense. It's also worth mentioning that Reynolds was watching tape with hitting coach Jim Presley after the 4-hour, 8-minute game and has been a fixture at early batting practice. It's not like he's not working, but he's just not getting it done right now. I really wonder whether you'll start to see more of Andino or Jake Fox at third. Tonight would appear to be a good night for that with a strikeout pitcher like Felix Hernandez on the mound.

Honorable mention: Jeremy Accardo's continued struggles, Kevin Gregg's habit of allowing leadoff man on, Michael Gonzalez relapsing.