Flashback Friday: Harold Baines' walk-off grand slam, 1999

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April 19, 2013

Matt Wieters had himself a clutch at-bat Thursday night, producing some early season Orioles magic by launching a grand slam into the right-field seats at Camden Yards to give the Birds a 10-6 win against the Rays in 10 innings. It was the first walk-off grand slam for the O's since Harold Baines played the hero role on May 4, 1999, against the White Sox in a 9-5 home victory versus his old team. 

"It's a very upbeat win to come from behind like that," O's manager Ray Miller said. "That's what we needed."

Wieters and Baines could stage a competitive foot race, which makes the fact that Baines tripled in the ninth inning of that 1999 victory a bit more than surprising.

White Sox rookie centerfielder McKay Christensen misplayed a Baines fly ball to give the lumbering DH his first three bagger in four years and the last one of his career. The triple scored Brady Anderson, who reached base via error.

Chicago's sloppy fielding pinned a blown save on Bob Howry despite the fact that he struck out the side in the ninth. Howry, who finished the season with 28 saves, allowed a Jeff Conine single that scored Baines and erased what remained of a 5-3 lead entering the ninth. Conine also homered twice in the game. 

"That's the most fun we've had all year," Conine said. "That's two wins in a row and coming from behind is a great feeling. My stroke is coming. It was only a matter of time."

Baines didn't need any help or hustle to get around the bases in the 10th inning when he sent a 2-2 offering from David Lundquist deep into the night for the walk-off victory. Lundquist walked two batters and hit another with a pitch to account for the crowded base paths prior to the Baines homer. 

O's reliever Ricky Bones scored the game's winning run after being inserted as a pinch runner for Lenny Webster. Bones entered the game following a sacrifice bunt by Delino DeShields that moved Webster to third and Mike Bordick to second.

The O's, 8-17 after the win and still mired in last place despite the eighth-largest payroll in baseball, were coming off a 12-6 loss to the Cuban national team the night before.

"It's not a lot of fun having people hammer you every day," Miller said. "When things are going bad, you get blamed for everything."

Baines hit 24 homers for the Orioles in 1999 prior to being traded to Cleveland in late August. He was traded again the following summer, this time to the White Sox, after re-signing with the Orioles as a free agent in December 1999. 

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