Over the course of a 162-game Major League season, a lot of moments are deemed big. But while some are quickly forgotten, others leave a lasting impact, changing the conjecture of a series, a road trip or, arguably, an entire season.These can be argued and debated, but they all had
Over the course of a 162-game Major League season, a lot of moments are deemed big. But while some are quickly forgotten, others leave a lasting impact, changing the conjecture of a series, a road trip or, arguably, an entire season.
These can be argued and debated, but they all had their place in Orioles history in 2016.
:: AL Wild Card: Orioles vs. Blue Jays coverage ::
Here are five days that changed the season for the O's, helping them punch their playoff ticket as an American League Wild Card team:
1. Dylan Bundy moving to the rotation on July 17: The Orioles weren't sure what they were going to get from the rookie, who was out of options and had to make the club if healthy this spring. But Bundy excelled out of the bullpen and was put in the rotation out of need, giving the Orioles some solid outings and Baltimore hope for the future.
- Matt Wieters' game-winning home run on May 21 in Anaheim: The clutch blast, one of several big hits for Wieters, gave the O's a big series win on a tough road trip, a trip that also saw the O's get swept by Houston.
- Moving Ubaldo Jiménez back in the rotation on Aug. 25: With Chris Tillman headed to the disabled list, the O's had no choice but to call on Jimenez, who had pitched to a 5-9 record with a 7.38 ERA in the first half of the season. But Jimenez took his chance and ran with it, turning in quality starts in five of seven outings and ending with a second-half ERA of 2.82. His last outing? Arguably his most important, as Jimenez held Toronto to one hit over 6 2/3 innings in Thursday's series win at the Rogers Centre.
4. Mark Trumbo's game-winning homer on Sept. 18: There were a lot of big home runs for Trumbo, in his 47 home run season with Baltimore, but this blast prevented the Orioles from losing three of four to Tampa Bay at home. Trumbo's bat kept the O's afloat many times.
5. Hyun Soo Kim's home run on Sept. 28: Summoned to pinch-hit, Kim's two-run homer completed the O's comeback efforts and helped turn the momentum in their favor in a key final-week series in Toronto. The one-out, ninth-inning homer was one that Orioles fans won't soon forget.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli.