Sunday’s Orioles game had gotten just strange enough that it needed an unlikely hero to top things off. Caleb Joseph had his shot at the role but didn’t earn the part. Instead, Nolan Reimold became the Orioles’ leading man.
Yes, that Nolan Reimold. The one who had gone 0 for his last 16. The one who hadn’t had an RBI since July 11. The one with one hit since July 2. The one who had struck out six times in his last three starts.
Of course Reimold hit a three-run, walk-off homer. That’s baseball. That’s Orioles Magic. It was the O’s fourth walk-off win of 2016 and the Indians’ seventh walk-off loss of the season.
The victory gave the Orioles a three-game sweep of the A.L. Central-leading Indians and a four-game winning streak following a four-game losing streak that saw the O’s briefly relinquish first place.
If anyone knows how baseball’s tides can change, it’s Reimold. Consider what has happened for Reimold and for the Orioles over the course of his three walk-off home runs.
Watch Reimold’s first career-walk off homer from May 27, 2009. Dave Trembley was his manager at the time. Reimold, a 25-year-old rookie, was playing in his 13th game. The walk-off was his fourth of 15 home runs that season. His first homer came off of Mariano Rivera. (This is the point where I remind you that the Orioles hit the most home runs off of Rivera with 12.) Reimold was selected Rookie of the Month for June. The O’s finished the season with 98 losses. The team might never be good again, it seemed, but at least they had this promising rookie corner outfielder.
Watch Reimold’s second career walk-off homer from Aug. 10, 2011. Reimold’s home run improved the Orioles’ record to 45-69. Other guys who delivered walk-off hits that season (not all homers, mind you) included Derek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, and Ryan Adams. Adams played his only 29 major league games for the Orioles that season. The O’s, in their first full season under Buck Showalter, lost 93 games.
In-between his first two walk-off home runs, Reimold celebrated his own bobblehead night at Camden Yards in 2010 from a distance as a member of the Norfolk Tides.
In-between Reimold’s second and third walk-off homers, Robert Andino had two walk-off hits for the Orioles. That includes a particularly memorable one on Sept. 28, 2011 that scored Reimold from second base after he had tied the game with a two-out double. The Curse of the Andino capped the final year of the Orioles’ 14-season losing streak. They haven’t finished below .500 since then.
Watch Reimold’s third career walk-off homer from Sunday. The Orioles are in first place and are seeking their third playoff appearance in five seasons. Reimold is playing for his third team in three years. He’s still trying to put it all together where he debuted in 2009.