After Game 162, O's garner standing 'O' for 2022 emergence

October 6th, 2022

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles showed what next year could be like against American League East foes on Wednesday afternoon at Camden Yards. They came back from a four-run deficit to edge the Blue Jays, 5-4, in the first game of a doubleheader.

Though the Orioles lost the second game, 5-1, they ended their season 83-79 -- Baltimore’s best record since 2016. This was a season that saw the emergence of catcher Adley Rutschman and infielder Gunnar Henderson.   

After the last out was made in the second game, 17,248 fans gave the O’s a standing ovation. The players returned the gesture by funneling out of the dugout and acknowledging the crowd. The fans saw firsthand how good this surging team -- which is already talking about making the postseason next year -- can be.

“I thought it was classy on [the fans’] part,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It shows the appreciation for the effort our guys put in. It’s nice to see our guys acknowledge that as well. It was a cool moment.”

Said outfielder Kyle Stowers, “The fans have been through thick and thin the last few years. The brand of baseball we have been playing the whole year, we took a mutual respect moving forward. The team didn’t give up. You could see it in the first game [of the doubleheader].”  

In Game 1, the Orioles faced a buffet of relievers and had a tough time at the plate early on. In fact, Toronto had a 4-0 lead after 5 1/2 innings. But as they often seem to do, the Orioles came back and took a one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning on infielder ’s three-run homer off right-hander Mitch White. It was Vavra’s first Major League home run.

The clutch blast also gave left-hander  his first big league victory and set up right-hander -- whom Baltimore claimed off waivers from Toronto last November -- for his first save in the Majors. The two young hurlers kept the Blue Jays off the board over the final two frames

“It's just how we drew it up,” Hyde said. “Great for all three of those guys. DL had great stuff again. Baker gets his first save against his old club. What a second half he has had. He was outstanding for us. I’m really excited about him going into next year.

“We were pretty empty for a little while and Vavra got a huge hit for us. Great first game for a doubleheader.”

Vavra, who debuted July 29, has flown under the radar this season because of the presence of other rookies on the Orioles, namely Henderson and Rutschman. But Hyde knows what Vavra has done for the team.

“I think he has come up here and shown the ability to take a Major League at-bat and the ability to manage the strike zone,” Hyde said. “I like how short his swing is. He uses the whole field. He has some versatility. He has done a good job in a non-everyday role”