In the middle of the greatest comeback in club history Tuesday night, there was a feeling in the home dugout that the Orioles weren't buried by a nine-run deficit.
At least that was the sentiment Wednesday morning, as the club approached the rubber match against the Boston Red Sox.
At least that is what Orioles first baseman and burgeoning mystic Aubrey Huff was selling.
"It was just a weird feeling. You can't really explain it," Huff said. "It was just like the baseball gods were talking to you, that you were going to win the game. It's a weird feeling, but we never felt we were out of it."
The Orioles trailed 10-1 and had just three hits through six innings Tuesday before they scored five in the seventh to make it 10-6 and five more in the eighth to take the lead against the best bullpen in the majors.
"Oh, boy, what a night. That was a beauty," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley, who acknowledged that he didn't fall asleep until 3:40 a.m. Wednesday. "I didn't know I had so many friends. I got a lot of calls, a lot of e-mails. That was neat."
The comeback was the largest in Orioles history, topping an eight-run rally against Boston on Sept. 2, 1956.
It was the first time in major league history that a last-place team had erased such a large deficit against a first-place team, and it was the largest lead blown by the Red Sox in 20 years.
The instant classic featured an hour-plus rain delay, a three-run homer by reserve Oscar Salazar, the Orioles' first pinch-hit home run in nearly a year, and the tying run scored by pinch-running pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, who had to rush into the clubhouse to retrieve his baseball spikes moments before entering the game.
"Our guys just did a really, really good job," Guthrie said. "I think the home run by Salazar was the full ignition. There were some embers down there, and the whole thing just blew up when [Salazar] hit that home run."
Adam Jones said he was a little sore but wanted to play Wednesday after he slammed into the center-field wall while trying to catch Kevin Youkilis' home run in Tuesday's first inning. He caught the ball, but it and his glove landed over the wall.
"I remember catching the ball," he said. "I remember the wall knocking my glove off, too."
Jones initially hit his head against the wall and left the game two innings later with a headache. He proclaimed himself fully healthy Wednesday, but Trembley decided not to start him after head athletic trainer Richie Bancells reported that Jones' side was sore.
"I'm fine," Jones said. "I'm sore every morning. I could play."
He is expected to start tonight against the Los Angeles Angels.
One aspect lost in Tuesday's stirring comeback was another rough performance by lefty Rich Hill, who has allowed 22 earned runs in 19 innings (10.42 ERA) over his past five games. He has completed five innings just once in that span.
"I just didn't see the bite, the starkness on his breaking pitch," Trembley said. "I did see some pitches that he was throwing 90-91 [mph]. But then I'd see 86. It's got to get more consistent ... You can't have that fluctuation because if you don't locate it, you're not fooling anybody."
The Orioles aren't giving up on Hill (3-2, 7.08 ERA), who has a 14.34 ERA in three home starts, all no-decisions.
"We've got to get him ready to make his next start on Sunday and see if we can let him go out [of] the first half somewhat on a positive note," Trembley said. "And then take a break and bring him back out there after the All-Star break."
Around the horn
The Orioles held a pre-game moment of silence for former ticket-office worker Joe Codd, who died Tuesday at age 93. He worked for the Orioles from their arrival in Baltimore until Jan. 1, 2008. ... Luke Scott hit his team-leading 15th homer in the second inning. ... Brian Roberts' stolen base was the club's first since June 21.