Baltimore Orioles: Ranking the Great Moments of ALDS Game One


Oct 2, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) celebrates after hitting a two run home run during the first inning in game one of the 2014 American League divisional series against the Detroit Tigers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There were more than just a couple of great moments in the Baltimore Orioles 12-3 win over the Detroit Tigers in game one of the American League Divisional Series. We might list and rank them as follows …

  • The Andrew Romine error allowing De Aza to score. After Alejandro De Aza’s one-out double in the bottom of the eighth inning chased Max Scherzer, Adam Jones hit a sharp grounder to the glove side of shortstop Andrew Romine. He simply misplayed the ball, as it went off him into short center field. De Aza never stopped and scored with his excellent speed. Instead of two outs with a runner at third base and the score 4-3, a tack-on run had scored, there was only one out, Jones would steal second, and the Orioles were off to the races and a number 8 for the inning. Kudos also to Dickerson for sending De Aza; not all of his decisions have been great this season.
  • Torii Hunter


    Ian Kinsler

    at first base in the eighth inning with none out, trailing 4-2, Kinsler took off for second base. Torii Hunter hit a liner right at

    J.J. Hardy

    for the easy double play. Immediately after,

    Miguel Cabrera

    hit a home run to cut the game to 4-3. That inning and the entire game could have been very different without the double play.

    Mr. October Reggie Jackson only has 3 more career postseason home runs than Nelson Cruz.

    Nelson Cruz

    Of course it is

    Reggie Jackson

    who has the name of “Mr. October” with his 18 career postseason home runs and .278 average. Nelson Cruz, in far fewer games, now has 15 homers and a .285 average. He put the Orioles ahead with his two-run homer in the first, immediately after an Adam Jones double-play grounder. And he added an additional RBI later in the game. In a pre-game radio interview with Dan Duquette, he spoke of a reason for securing both Cruz and

    Delmon Young

    was their playoffs experiences and success (see previous articles on both in the links).

    More from Baltimore Orioles

  • Torii Hunter grounding into inning-ending, bases-loaded force out. In the fifth inning, with Chris Tillman down to his final hitter and his 105th pitch, Hunter hit into an inning-ending force out to Ryan Flaherty at third base. This kept the score at 3-2. The Tigers were 0-for-2 with RISP, whereas the Orioles were 6-for-11.
  • Alejandro De Aza doubles twice in the same inning. As I always have written, even if a guy strikes out twice in the same inning, that is a good thing because your team has to score at least four runs when that happens. But it is better yet to have a player hit two doubles in the same frame. De Aza led off the eighth inning with a double that began the game-busting onslaught. He then doubled home the final two runs later in the inning.
  • The tack-on run of J.J. Hardy’s home run. It is no secret that tack-on runs have often been difficult for the Baltimore Orioles, which adds stress to the bullpen – forcing them to hang on for dear life to narrow leads or tied scores. Hardy’s home run gave the Birds a 4-2 lead, negating the damage of the solo home run in the top of the next inning by Miguel Cabrera.
  • The tone-setting 1-2-3 strikeouts by Tillman in the first inning. It is the Detroit Tigers who have the Cy Young trifecta of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and David Price. The Orioles have no such file of resumes. So for Chris Tillman to set down the Tigers in order on strikeouts in the first inning (where he historically can have some problems) was huge for setting a tone that the Orioles were not overmatched in any way. And it worked the crowd into a frenzy that never stopped.
  • Additionally, here are a couple of things that didn’t go well…

    Steve Pearce admiring his “almost homer.”  Pearce hit a long shot to the left-field wall that had the initial feel of being a homer. He watched the ball while jogging toward first base, only to see it ricochet off the wall to the left-fielder. Pearce sprinted too late to beat the throw to second base, whereas running hard out of the box would have gotten him there with no problem. Not good.

    Not getting Tommy Hunter up sooner.  The bottom of the eighth inning went on and on and on. Zach Britton had gotten the final out in the top of the inning, and it was presumed with the 4-3 score that he would be working on a four-out close. Many runs and many more minutes later, Britton had been standing around too long to be brought back. Hunter was not warming up far enough in advance when he came into the ninth inning, and it looked like it … even though he got out of a bases-loaded situation and 21 pitches without yielding a run.

    But when all things are considered, it was a great night. The O’s only scored 12 runs this year on two other occasions (against the Twins and Cardinals), and very early in the season scored 14 against the Yankees. The Tigers will have to win 3-of-4 to beat the Orioles in this series.