ATLANTA -- As Friday night transformed into Saturday morning, Manny Machado stepped into the box after more than five hours had ticked by since the first pitch was thrown at SunTrust Park. Machado said he was only looking for one thing and, surprisingly, it wasn't the perfect pitch to hit. All he wanted was "to go home," he joked.
But there must have been a little truth in the jest because Machado got what he wanted. The Orioles beat the National League East-leading Braves, 10-7, when their shortstop sent a shot into the visiting bullpen in left field for a two-run homer in the 15th inning. Jonathan Schoop later added a two-out RBI single as insurance.
But it took a lot of fight for the Orioles to get to that point. Down 3-1 in the ninth, the Orioles' bats came alive in a six-run frame as four of the first five batters reached. Danny Valencia cut the deficit with an RBI single before Schoop followed with an RBI double to tie the game at 3. Chris Davis scored the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to left field. A trio of two-out RBI knocks capped the O's scoring.
But the Braves would not go quietly after the O's ninth-inning rally. Down 7-3 with no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom half of the frame, the heart of the Braves' order rallied to score two runs on a Freddie Freeman single to center field and another two on a Nick Markakis game-tying double.
All of the excitement came after a stellar start from Alex Cobb, whom Orioles manager Buck Showalter said was as good as he has been all year. Friday night's game was laced with a little redemption for Cobb, who gave up 14 runs through 10 2/3 innings over his past two starts.
Cobb was taken out after the seventh inning, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out six along the way.
"I can't even really recall what took place [after I came out]," Cobb joked, "but I know there were some pretty good back and forth."
The key takeaway from the right-hander's performance on Friday night was his ability to get soft contact from the Braves' lineup. Up until Dansby Swanson's two-out triple in the seventh, no Braves player had been able to get a good barrel on the ball.
"It was one of those days where you throw a pitch and the ball is actually coming out better than it feels," Cobb said. "... Getting ground balls on mistake pitches I think really tells me that my delivery is in line and the ball is coming out the right way."
Along with Cobb, Davis also made his presence known in Friday night's win in his return to the Orioles' lineup after an eight-game hiatus. After walking in his first plate appearance, he hit a solo homer to open the fifth inning to give the O's a 1-0 lead.
Davis had been struggling offensively throughout much of the 2018 season, with a .150 average and 14 strikeouts in June. The last time Davis knocked a home run was on May 9 against the Royals. Friday's was his fifth of the season.
"Him hitting a home run, that's kind of the least of it for me," Showalter said. "It's about having him back and getting a chance to be back engaged in the competition."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
While there were many singular moments that mattered for the Orioles in the 15-inning game, none were quite as nerve-racking as when the Braves had a chance to cap off a four-run, ninth-inning rally with the walk-off win. Atlanta gave Freeman the green light from third to attempt to score on Markakis' double to right field. If Freeman scored, the Braves would win. The O's defensive arms, however, proved too quick for Freeman as a relay from Jace Peterson in right to Schoop at second to Caleb Joseph at the plate prevented the winning run from scoring with a close play at the plate.
"In that situation, you are just trying to do whatever," Machado said. "You got to fight back, and we fought back to get back in that game."
Since making his debut in 2011, Cobb has posted a 2.67 ERA in Interleague play, which is the fifth-best mark among all active pitchers.
Friday night's 15-inning, five-plus-hour game was the longest bout of the season for both the Orioles and Braves. Both clubs had previously gone to 14 innings.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Called up from Triple-A Gwinnett earlier in the day, Danny Santana fueled Atlanta's ninth-inning rally with a double and nearly ended the game with two outs in the 12th. The outfielder drilled Miguel Castro's 3-1 sinker and then watched Craig Gentry snare it with his glove at the top of the center-field wall.
WILKERSON'S FIRST HIT
Steve Wilkerson notched his first Major League hit with an RBI single during the six-run ninth inning. The Orioles selected his contract from Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday. A Georgia native, Wilkerson attended Pope High School in Marietta, less than 10 miles from SunTrust Park.
HE SAID IT
"That's why people come, because things happen that aren't supposed to happen on paper… You can't hand the ball to your best shooter or your best running back. You have to wait your turn in the order, and that's why it's such a team game." -- Showalter, on the wild ninth inning
Dylan Bundy gets the start as the Orioles go for the series victory over the Braves on Saturday at SunTrust Park. After holding opponents to no runs on three hits in back-to-back appearances to open June, the O's right-hander gave up four runs in his last start against the Marlins. But a strong offensive surge assured a win for Bundy. The Braves will counter with Julio Teheran. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET.