Zach Britton was not a member of the New York Yankees organization on this day in Baltimore Orioles history, July 25, 2014. Instead, Britton picked up his 19th save of the season as the O’s defeated the Seattle Mariners in 10 innings.
Chris Davis led off the 10th inning with a home run to right field that proved to be the difference on the scoreboard. Teammate Nelson Cruz – not yet a Mariner performing well at the end of a contract that he couldn’t get from the Orioles – homered off the then-potent Felix Hernandez in the second inning for the Orioles’ other run. It was Cruz’s 29th homer of the season and served as the lone blemish on Hernandez’s seven-inning pitching line that included 10 strikeouts and no walks.
Kevin Gausman = still an Oriole at the time of this writing – countered Hernandez with 6.1 innings of work. Gausman allowed seven hits and paired a trio of strikeouts with a trio of walks but managed to hold the Mariners to one run. Said run came on a Kendrys Morales sac fly following Robinson Cano’s lead-off triple in the bottom of the sixth inning. Brian Matusz – not yet a LOOGY – struck out three batters with no walks in 1.2 innings of relief work.
The win kept the Orioles three games up on the second place New York Yankees during a challenging West Coast swing following the All Star break. Toronto cut the O’s lead in half by the end of July but neither team would get any closer as Baltimore delivered its first division title since 1997 by a comfortable 12-game margin.
Chris Davis hitting homers, Nelson Cruz in a Baltimore uniform, Zach Britton closing things out, the O’s winning one-run games in extra innings on their way to a division title … Sigh.
For the 2014 Baltimore Orioles, who rocked, we salute you.