Sep 23, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) throws to first base for the force out of Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (not pictured) during the fourth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
That is not only the number of runs the Baltimore Orioles scored on Wednesday night, but it also represents how many games separate the Orioles from the second wild-card spot. There is also the detail of several teams being in front of them, but let’s not rain on this parade.
The game started promising enough on Wednesday. Steve Pearce had a two-run home run, and the O’s were in business. But Chris Tillman proceeded to give a run back, but was lucky to get Jayson Werth to line into a double play.
Tillman would then hold the Nationals off the scoreboard until the fifth inning, after getting 12 outs in a row. In the fifth, it all came crashing down on Tillman, as he lost the strike zone and the lead.
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Mychal Givens came in and shut the door in the 7th and 8th. Then the 9th came along.
Jonathan Papelbon must have needed some work, because he entered the game for the Nats. He then proceeded to throw near Manny’s head on the first pitch, and then two pitches later, drilled Manny up high on the shoulder.
Papelbon, as classless as they come, was ejected. As he should have been.
Manny was animated, throwing his bat. Buck was fuming. Benches cleared. But nothing really happened, and the O’s had Darren O’Day, their new closer with Zach Britton injured, come in and close out the game. 1-2-3.
With that, the Baltimore Orioles keep climbing toward first place.
An afternoon game awaits on Thursday, where the O’s have a chance to move to just 3.5 out of the last wild-card spot.
The O’s are a team that is noticeably banged up, but they keep drawing closer. And with less than a dozen games to go, the O’s are putting themselves in the race.