After a long day, Orioles win thanks to unusual heroes: Gentry, Ubaldo and not-traded Britton - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

After a long day, Orioles win thanks to unusual heroes: Gentry, Ubaldo and not-traded Britton

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

This is why you watch the games.

This is why baseball is so cool.

Because Monday night’s 2-1 win by the Orioles against the Kansas City Royals shouldn’t have happened for several reasons. And yet they did win. In dramatic fashion.

The Orioles beat the red-hot Royals in the bottom of the ninth on a RBI single by 33-year-old Craig Gentry.

It was his 1,192nd plate appearance in nine seasons. And his first walkoff hit.

Gentry, who has been designated for assignment twice by the Orioles this year, was only up in the majors this time because the club traded Hyun Soo Kim on Friday.

“It has been a battle, a big grind, not only this year but the last few years,” Gentry said. “And to come out here, and something like this happens to me, it’s pretty amazing.”

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Frankly, I didn’t think Gentry should have been hitting in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and two runners on in a tied game. I wasn’t the only one.

“To be honest with ya, I thought I was gonna be pinch hit for,” Gentry laughed. “To get to go up in that situation, for them to have confidence in you like that, is a big deal.”

Gentry’s hit up the middle made a winner out of closer Zach Britton, who by most accounts, was supposed to be traded by the 4 p.m. deadline.

He wasn’t. Then he came into the game in the ninth and shut the Royals down.

“I think there was a period where I was like, ‘OK this is where I’m going to stay.’ I can relax and just pitch well and help this team win and get to the postseason. The thought of going somewhere else was completely done,” Britton said. “It just got rid of maybe some of the awkwardness that I felt like was in the clubhouse before the deadline was over. Everyone just got back to normal.”

The Royals headed into the night as baseball’s hottest team, winning 10 of 11, and scoring four runs or more in all but one of those games.

And then they were shut down by Ubaldo Jimenez, continuing the night of improbabilities.

Jimenez entered the game with a 6.93 ERA. He allowed just one run – a RBI double in the first – in seven innings. He struck out six, walked two and allowed five hits. It was his second straight quality start.

“It feels good. That’s what I always think. It doesn’t matter how you start, you have to finish strong,” he said. “That’s what the team needed the most. It feels good to be able to go out there and compete and keep the team close.”

Just a weird night at Camden Yards.

I spent much of the day talking about how the Orioles were fooling themselves that they were still in this postseason race.

And then Jimenez pitches great, Britton gets the win and Gentry is the hero.

Yep, baseball.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Creatively_19

    July 31, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Can’t write it up any better than this. If Ubaldo had to pitch for us tonight, I’m glad this was the version that showed up. Personally, I’m still glad to have this team intact. To quote the 24th (tied) most winningest manager in MLB history, “I like our guys.”

    • Dan Connolly

      August 1, 2017 at 1:58 am

      It’s funny. Games like this make you think maybe Dan, Buck and Co. are onto something. And then disaster follows.

  2. bobbymac824

    August 1, 2017 at 8:13 am

    “It was his 1,192nd plate appearance in nine seasons. And his first walkoff hit.” Love those stat guys – O-mazing!

    Agree with Creatively above – well done Dan and truly this was a win to cherish! Machado with the water cooler in tow was a joy to watch – he almost hit Craig and gave him another DL stint but whatevs!

    • Dan Connolly

      August 1, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Gonna be interesting to see if momentum continues. If they can somehow win 3 against KC it sure would help make the organization’s point that it isn’t dead yet.

  3. Osfan73

    August 1, 2017 at 8:54 am

    This is why they play the games. Anything can happen and usually does…….like the Os in the playoffs this year?!?!? Hmmmmmm???

    • Dan Connolly

      August 1, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Love your enthusiasm 73.

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