BOSTON - The Baltimore Orioles had their most memorable road trip in recent history, and it was topped off by a game none of them will ever forget.
Not that their 9-6 17-inning win over the Boston Red Sox was full of artistry. It was great theater.
There was Chris Davis, who had become the first player in the major league history to strike out five times and hit into a double play in his first six at-bats, being called on to pitch, and shutting out the Red Sox.
Davis became the first Orioles' position player to win a game in team history, and after his horrible day at the plate, was relieved when manager Buck Showalter, who spent his bullpen, told his designated hitter that he was going to pitch the 16th inning.
"I get to try something different today because hitting ain't working," Davis said. "It was a rough day at the plate. I'm like, seriously am I going to get another at-bat?"
Davis (1-0) pitched a scoreless 16th and 17th, and was bailed out by an excellent relay throw to the plate by J.J. Hardy in the 16th that nailed the potential winning run.
Adam Jones hit a three-run home run in the top of the 17th off another position player, Boston's Darnell McDonald.
"It was bizarre. It was fun. It was awesome. It was exhausting. It was exhilarating," Jones said.
The Orioles (19-9) have the best record in the American League, and won five games in New York and Boston, allowing Showalter to collect his 1,000th win along the way. Baltimore also swept a three-game series in Fenway Park for the first time since June 10-12, 1994.
The successful road trip looked as if it was going to have a neat end to it, but Tommy Hunter who started the game, squandered an early 5-0 lead, and when the bullpen allowed its first run after 23 2-3 scoreless innings, and the Red Sox (11-16) tied the score at 6, it was time for another streak to begin.
Showalter used all seven relievers in his bullpen, and after Jim Johnson finished the 15th inning, he called on Davis, who pitched in junior college, to come in.
He wasn't nervous. Davis makes his livelihood as a hitter, so he decided to have some fun with it.
"It was late in the game, and I just wanted to throw strikes," Davis said. "After the first inning, I was just trying to get it over the plate, and I was like: 'this is a lot harder than it looks.'"
Hardy had a career-best five hits, including two early home runs, and Robert Andino had a three-run shot to give the Orioles a 5-0 lead.
Hunter gave up a grand-slam home run to Will Middlebrooks in the fifth to tie it at 5.
The Orioles and Red Sox each scored a run in the eighth.
Showalter never dreamed the game would go so long, and he didn't want to use Brian Matusz, who's scheduled to start on Monday. He thought about Nick Markakis, but decided on Davis.
"You reach a point in the game where you're getting diminishing returns," Showalter said.
Davis retired the first two batters in the 16th, but then Wilson Betemit booted Marlon Byrd's grounder. Mike Aviles doubled to left, but Jones' throw nailed Aviles at the plate.
Once he had a three-run lead, Davis allowed the first two baserunners to reach in the 17th, but struck out Adrian Gonzalez and got McDonald to ground into a double play to end the 6 hour, 7 minute show.
"You talk about team wins, I'd like to see somebody top that one team-wise," Showalter said.
NOTES: Eighteen pitchers were used in the game, the most in the 100-year history of Fenway Park. ... The Orioles played only one longer game by time, a 6 hour, 15 minute, 17-inning game in Philadelphia in 2003 . .. Davis is the first player to go 0-for-8 in a game and be the winning pitcher since Rude Waddell bested Cy Young on July 4, 1905. ... Mark Reynolds was 6-for-11 this weekend at Fenway Park. ... Showalter said that he expects Nolan Reimold to go on a rehab assignment in the final days of his stint on the disabled list. Reimold was placed on the DL with a herniated disk retroactive to May 1. ...The Orioles open a four-game series with Texas on Monday. Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel are Baltimore's scheduled starters. Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland are the Rangers' probables.