Urrutia's game-winner a dream come true
BALTIMORE -- Since Henry Urrutia first set foot in the United States, flying into Miami on Feb. 27, 2013, he had dreamed of moments like Wednesday.
Urrutia, whose signing took seven months to become official as the Cuban defector waited to secure a work visa in Haiti, saw the 1-2 pitch leave Mets reliever Carlos Torres' hand and knew he could drive it. And that's exactly what the outfielder -- recalled from Triple-A Norfolk last week -- did, smashing his first career Major League homer and lifting the playoff-hopeful Orioles to a 5-4 walk-off win.
"This is the best moment in all my career," said a choked-up Urrutia, who became the fifth Oriole in club history -- and first since Chris Hoiles in 1990 -- to record a walk-off homer as their first career home run.
"Well, that makes this moment bigger for me," Urrutia said of cementing his place in Baltimore lore. "A lot of good players [have] come here and played with this organization -- and in their whole careers [they] don't have a moment like this. So this moment for me is special [and] is bigger than anything."
Since the day he signed, Urrutia -- who debuted in 2013 -- has made it clear how much he loves the Orioles. His custom Camaro is black-and-orange. His Twitter handle is @henryorioles. And on Wednesday, Urrutia got to feel the love that goes with bringing the house down in front of 36,165 at Camden Yards with his ninth-inning blast.
"All you have to do is walk down here and see his wife and baby outside there. [It's] pretty cool. I like being able to take that in," O's manager Buck Showalter said of Urrutia, who did not reach the big leagues at all last year. "It's been a long road for Henry. The games are dwindling and it's that time. That's why they call it the dog days of August. They're here."
Urrutia was able to secure the baseball from the fan who caught it in the left-field stands and happily met for the exchange outside of the home clubhouse.
"When the guy told me I have your baseball for you, wow. That's the best gift for me tonight," Urrutia said, blinking back tears. "Now I can give that baseball to my son. And my son [Henry] one day can say this is the first homer from my dad in the big leagues."