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Top 10 Orioles games of the decade

@JoeTrezz
December 2, 2019

BALTIMORE -- It’s been a transformative, at-times dramatic decade for the Orioles, who began and closed the 2010s in rebuilding cycles. In between, from 2012-16, they won more games than any team in the American League, resulting in three postseason appearances and the lion’s share of the franchise’s best moments

BALTIMORE -- It’s been a transformative, at-times dramatic decade for the Orioles, who began and closed the 2010s in rebuilding cycles. In between, from 2012-16, they won more games than any team in the American League, resulting in three postseason appearances and the lion’s share of the franchise’s best moments this century.

Now with the end of the decade drawing near, those are the days that dominate as we take a stroll down memory lane. Below are the 10 most memorable Orioles games of the 2010s:

1. 2014 ALDS Game 2
Orioles 7, Tigers 6
Oct. 3, 2014

American League East champs for the first time in 17 years, the Orioles arrived in the postseason to find a three-headed monster standing in their way: Detroit’s vaunted rotation of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price, all former Cy Young Award winners. After getting through Scherzer, the Orioles found themselves down three runs in the eighth in Game 2, six outs away from heading back to Detroit with the series tied.

They instead went with a commanding 2-0 lead because of Delmon Young, who capped their four-run eighth-inning rally with a go-ahead, bases-clearing double off Joakim Soria, sending Camden Yards into a stupor. With the hit, Young joined the likes of Moe Drabowsky, Tito Landrum and Jeff Reboulet in franchise postseason lore. The O’s would go on to win the series when …

2. 2014 ALDS Game 3
Orioles 2, Tigers 1
Oct. 5, 2014

… Two days later, they used Nelson Cruz’s two-run homer and a gutsy Bud Norris start to secure the sweep, the Orioles’ first in the postseason in more than four decades. It also marked Buck Showalter’s first career postseason series victory, and a trip to the franchise’s first league championship since 1997. The capper was a dramatic 2-1 win over Price and the mighty Tigers, who’d reached the past three AL Championship Series and entered this ALDS as favorites. The Orioles were subsequently swept by the eventual-champion Royals in the ALCS.

3. American League Wild Card Game
Orioles 5, Rangers 1
Oct. 5, 2012

The first-ever American League Wild Card Game also marked the Orioles’ entrance to their first postseason in 15 years, since all the way back in 1997. They’d logged 14 consecutive losing seasons before going 93-69 in 2012 behind a budding young core of Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Chris Davis and others. But to advance to the ALDS, they had to get through the Rangers, who’d made two consecutive World Series appearances and spent much of the year as the AL’s top club.

To do so they tabbed Joe Saunders, who had lost nine of his previous 12 starts before coming over in a midseason trade from Arizona, and had lost all six of his previous career starts in Texas. No bother: Saunders outpitched Yu Darvish for five-plus innings, and the O’s vaunted bullpen did the rest. A date with the mighty Yanks soon awaited, some decade-and-a-half in the making.

4. 2012 ALDS Game 2
Orioles 3, Yankees 2
Oct. 8, 2012

To earn their first postseason victory in 15 years, the Orioles had to wait out a 40-minute rain delay before keeping the announced crowd of 47,817 on the edge of their seat all evening. When the dust cleared, they’d gotten six-plus innings from Wei-Yin Chen, and RBI hits from Davis and Mark Reynolds to outlast Andy Pettitte. It was a preview of things to come -- each of the final four games of the series would be decided by two runs or less.

5. 2012 ALDS Game 4
Orioles 2, Yankees 1 (13 innings)
Oct. 11, 2012

Talk about tense. Talk about a nail-biter. Facing elimination at Yankee Stadium, the Orioles came out on top when JJ Hardy’s 13th-inning RBI double put them ahead in the longest postseason game in franchise history. Hardy’s game-winning hit broke a 2-2 tie that the O’s and Yanks had been locked in for six innings; Baltimore’s bullpen would eventually log seven scoreless innings to seal the win. It brought the ALDS back to Baltimore for a decisive Game 5, which the Yankees won, 3-1.

6. 2014 AL East clincher
Orioles 8, Blue Jays 2
Sept. 16, 2014

To secure their first playoff berth in 15 years in 2012, the Orioles had to play until the season’s final week. Two years later, they wrapped up their first division title since 1997 early. With two weeks remaining until October, the Orioles topped the Blue Jays to ensure their ninth AL East crown in team history. They’d go on to win 96 games – their most of the decade.

7. 2014 ALDS Game 1
Orioles 12, Tigers 3
Oct. 2, 2014

Before Young’s double secured Game 2 of the ALDS and the Orioles clinched the series in Game 3, they had to get through Max Scherzer, knowing Verlander and Price loomed behind him. They didn’t do so easily, but by the time Scherzer exited in the eighth, they’d pieced five runs together against the reigning AL Cy Young winner. They’d add five more in the eighth inning after Scherzer departed to cruise to an easy Game 1 victory. The 12 runs the Orioles scored were the most in a postseason game in franchise history.

8. Orioles tie MLB record with 8 HRs
Orioles 19, Phillies 3
June 16, 2015

The Orioles were a .500 team in 2015, but they could hit. The O’s scored at least 18 runs in three different games that season, including this notable slugfest against the Phillies. Six Orioles went deep on this day -- Manny Machado (twice), Jimmy Paredes, Chris Parmelee (twice), David Lough, Davis and Ryan Flaherty -- tying the all-time single-game MLB record. They’ve only scored more in a game three times previously in franchise history, and not once since.

9. Bundy's complete-game one-hitter
Aug. 29, 2017
Orioles 4, Mariners 0

The Orioles haven’t thrown a no-hitter since 1991, but they managed six 1-hitters this decade. All but two were combined efforts: Jason Hammel’s June 2012 gem against the Braves and this complete-game masterpiece spun by Dylan Bundy. Bundy struck out 12 and walked just two on the day. And given how the Orioles scored in the bottom of the first inning, this could reasonably be called one of their cleanest victories of the past 10 years.

10. O's top Halos in marathon matchup
July 25, 2019
Orioles 10, Angels 8 (16 innings)

Tucked into a tough rebuilding year was arguably the best game of 2019 league-wide: a marathon, bullpen-draining, back-and-forth 16-inning affair between the Orioles and Angels in Anaheim. The two teams had already played for six-plus hours and traded multiple leads before the game turned historic.

Then, starved for pitching, manager Brandon Hyde turned to outfielder-turned-mop-up-position-player-pitcher Stevie Wilkerson to hold a two-run lead in the bottom of the 16th. Wilkerson did not register a pitch above 60 mph -- and retired the side in order to record the first save by a position player in MLB history.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.