As much as I’m sure we’d all like to (sorry, Baltimore), or to think that perhaps it’s finally time to, as they visit a Yankee Stadium in the throes of Hiroktober with Miguel Gonzalez taking the hill, it would be entirely foolish at this point to start thinking that you can ever count out these ridiculous 2012 YOLOrioles.

Indeed, before we’re entirely sure, I think we’re going to have to wait until these plucky upstarts in orange are killed dead, then wait some more just to make absolute certain that another flawed, middling club with staggering good fortune doesn’t materialize from the ether to take their place.

What? Bitter?? Me???

Yeah, I suppose you could say so. And if you’re familiar with my work from over at Drunk Jays Fans, you undoubtedly know why. Yet there’s no reason to fear my biases for the underdog-rooting among you who’ll be joining us tonight on our GIF- and graph-laden journey through Game Three. Rest assured, with the dreaded also Yankees involved, I’ll be as neutral as sugar water…

Dramatis Personæ

Orioles Yankees
McLouth LF Jeter SS
Hardy SS Ichiro LF
Davis RF Rodriguez DH
Jones CF Cano 2B
Wieters C Swisher RF
Thome DH Teixeira 1B
Reynolds 1B Granderson CF
Flaherty 2B Martin C
Machado 3B Chavez 3B

And, as we’ve generally been doing around here for these, here are some nifty 2012 usage charts for each of these pitchers, via Brooks Brothers Baseball.

Big Hirok:

Miguel Gonzalez:

First Inning

Nate McLouth leads off the game with a single to centre, and the YOLOrioles are into some quick business. But it’s not to be, as McLouth safely steals second with Chris Davis at the plate, but he over-slides and ends up being called out. Or did he?

Second Inning

A lot of outs happening– though Nick Swisher did manage a one-out single in the bottom half of the frame, before being doubled off on Teixeira’s grounder to Reynolds at first. More importantly, on the last out of the top half of the inning, Kuroda takes a rocket comebacker off his leg– though fortunately it catches him in the calf, and he appears fine.

Third Inning – Orioles 1 – Yankees 1

Ryan Flaherty? Seriously? I guess that’s what a hanging slider and a short porch will do for ya– and maybe a hurting Kuroda– as the O’s second baseman dumps one into the seats beyond right field to put Baltimore on the board. 1 – 0 for the Orioles.

No, really. Ryan Flaherty.

McLouth gets a second hit on the night, manages to actually steal safely this time, but is left stranded.

Miguel Gonzalez comes back out to the hill for Baltimore, and for some reason in my mind I can’t stop confusing him with Miguel Ferrer, meaning this whole game I’m going to be thinking about one of the greatest death scenes in the history of cinema… from RoboCop. Viewer discretion advised.

Russell Martin doubles, then is advanced to third with Captain America due up and two outs. More amazingly, Ernie Johnson uses the phrase “small sample size,” and sounds like he actually understands what it means– ON A BASEBALL BROADCAST.

More amazing still? How Adam Jones takes what looks like it should have been a routine play and gift-wraps a triple for Jeter, with a little help from the swirling mid-October wind. The Captain’s drive to right-centre just gets over Jones’s gum-chewing head, and Martin scores easily. Game tied 1-1.

How long do you think he’s been waiting to use that one?

Fourth and Fifth Innings – Orioles 2 – Yankees 1

The Orioles threaten, loading the bases on a walk, a single, and a hit by pitch, but there are too many outs in the meantime, and the rally ends when Ryan Flaherty taps one back to Kuroda for an easy out. The middle of the Yankee order– A-Rod, Cano and Swisher– goes softly in the bottom of the frame, and then to open the fifth young Manny Machado, hitless in the first two games of the series, belts the first pitch he sees from Kuroda– yet another hanging slider– into the Orioles bullpen beyond left-centre. Baltimore pulls out in front, 2-1.

Russell Martin picks up a two-out hit in the bottom of the fifth, but Eric Chavez strikes out, and the Yankees continue to be able to get nothing tangible going. Not going to get any easier once Buck Showalter starts going to his bullpen.

Sixth and Seventh Innings

Lotta outs. A lot of outs.

Gonzalez is just cruising through the Yankee lineup, only giving up a Jeter single to start the sixth, then barely missing a double play on a soft hit to second from Ichiro. He followed that by striking out A-Rod and Cano, then struck out two more in a 1-2-3 second. Clarence Boddicker might want to keep this guy around! And it hasn’t been by missing bats in the same way, but Big Hirok has been keeping right on up, going three-up, three-down in both frames. Those two hangers that were crushed are hurting him now, but by no stretch has he pitched poorly.

Of course, had a front-row fan managed to steal a foul ball from Eric Chavez down the third base line– like he damn near did– it could have been a different story. But there have been no Jeffrey Maiers tonight… yet.

Eighth Inning

More pitching! Kuroda has now mowed down ten straight Orioles– every single one since Machado hit the go-ahead home run to start the fifth– but the Yankees get nowhere in the bottom half of the inning, as Darren O’Day and his crazily deceptive delivery comes into the game, replacing Miguel Gonzalez, and retiring the Yankees in order.

Not a whole lot has happened lately in this one– and there definitely hasn’t been a lot of movement or momentum to be picked up, if you believe in such ghosts– but the Yankees are running out of time. Showalter has already started making with his defensive replacements, sending Endy Chavez into right field for Chris Davis, and Robert Andino out to second base for Ryan Flaherty to start the eighth.

Ninth Inning – Orioles 2 – Yankees 2

It took three pitchers to do it– and you wonder why the atmosphere is muted here?– but the Yankees get the Orioles in the slowest 1-2-3 I’ve ever seen.

Then things get interesting. Jim Johnson, who the Yankees hung a five-spot on back in Game One, comes in to face Ichiro, Rodriguez and Cano– at least, that’s what we assumed. But after Ichiro hits a line drive the McLouth catches on the run in left field, Raul Ibanez comes to the plate, pinch hitting for the generational talent that is– or was– A-Rod. But before the world could lament the plight of poor, pathetic, worse-than-Ibanez against RHP A-Rod, HOLYSHITBALLSAHOMERUN!!!!

The binder nails it. Ibanez nails it. Tie game in the Bronx.

And, believe it or not, astoundingly inept as he typically is, even A-Rod knows enough to get to the top step of the dugout to be the first one to greet Ibanez when he comes back.

Tenth and Eleventh Innings

Oh, I haven’t gone anywhere, it’s just this game keeps on chugging along. With the exception of the Ibanez home run, the pitchers have owned this game for several innings– no baserunners yet in extras, with Rafael Soriano working a clean tenth, Jim Johnson matching him, then David Robertson working a clean eleventh, and Brian Matusz matching that. Still not at the four hour mark on this game yet, so I guess I can’t complain. I mean, at least Boston’s not involved. Still, would be nice if it ended before Detroit and Oakland.

Twelfth Inning – YANKEES WIN 3 – 2

Holy eff. You wouldn’t even believe it if I told you.

With Brian Matusz still pitching to start the twelfth, after Robertson got through the Baltimore half rather easily, despite an error charged to Teixeira, Raul Ibanez steps up to bat. And Raul Ibanez crushes another ball– the very first pitch– into the right field seats-. Not even a Yankee Stadium short porch joke shot, either.

Cue exploding Twitter…








Yes, there seriously is more baseball going on, at least as I happen to be writing this. Go ahead and flip over, not that it has much of a chance of topping THAT.