ANAHEIM, California—After the most eventful game most of the Orioles had ever played, there was yelling, screaming and celebrating in their clubhouse.
It didn’t matter that it was after 1:30 a.m. Pacific Time and that only the hardest of hard-core fans endured the more than six hours to watch a game that ended just before some of them had to get up for work.
The Orioles won a game that featured multiple lead changes, their final available relief pitcher nearly losing the game and, finally, a centerfielder recording the first save in major league history by a position player.
Jonathan Villar hit a two-run home run in the 16th, the latest go-ahead home run in Orioles history in the 10-8 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
The Orioles scored three runs in the 15th to take an 8-5 lead, then watched as the Angels tied it.
Tanner Scott, who was given the win, frittered away the lead, and Stevie Wilkerson, who has pitched twice this month in lopsided defeats, moved in from center to pitch and retired Angels hitters in the bottom of the 16th for the save.
“I don’t think I’ve wrapped my head around it yet,” Wilkerson said. “What a wild game. That was just crazy. I’m glad I could go out there and be part of getting us a win.”
Wilkerson saw the bullpen was getting thin. Manager Brandon Hyde used each of his eight relievers.
“I did run up and get a pitching glove about the 13th inning or so. I know we were running thin on guys,” Wilkerson said. “I knew it was a possibility when the game was getting late.”
Hyde probably will have to make multiple moves to have some fresh arms for Friday’s game.
“We’re discussing that now because we pretty much shot right through our bullpen,” Hyde said.
Gabriel Ynoa pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. He was the seventh reliever and once Scott had his shaky 15th, Hyde felt he had just one option, and that was Wilkerson.
“Somehow, get three outs,” Hyde said. “I have no idea. I’m hoping for three at-’em balls.”
Villar’s home run made up for a dismal night offensively when he was 1-for-7.
“I was like, ‘Cmon Villar,’” he said. “You miss like two bunts to the pitcher. So I feel happy for that. Nobody thinks about hitting a homer in in the 16th inning.”
The win was just the 33rd of the season for the Orioles, but Hyde thought it was important symbolically.
“A lot of really good things offensively and clutch performance by a lot of our guys.,” Hyde said. “I’m really happy for them. That’s the best our clubhouse has been after a win. It’s a good feeling after we’ve had so many tough losses to win one like that.”
The Orioles had a chance to win it in nine after Trey Mancini’s 23rd home run gave them a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth. Mychal Givens allowed Los Angeles’ Brian Goodwin to tie it at 5 with a home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
After five scoreless extra innings, Jace Peterson, who was added to the roster for this game, hit a two-run single in the 15th. Catcher Pedro Severino led off the 15th with a single. Villar hit into a force play, stole second and advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw by Griffin Canning.
Canning was the Angels’ 10th pitcher of the game and was scheduled to be Friday night’s starter.
Dwight Smith Jr. walked and stole second, and with two outs, Peterson lined one off first baseman Albert Pujols’ glove for a two-run single.
Hanser Alberto singled, his fourth hit of the game, to score Peterson, who stole second.
Ynoa pitched three scoreless innings and looked as if he was in line for the win.
But Scott allowed three runs in the bottom of the 15th on a bases-loaded walk and a two-run double to Mike Trout.
David Fletcher tried to scored from first, but was out on a throw from Smith in left to Villar at short to Severino at the plate.
After a two-minute, 41-second review, the call stood.
“I couldn’t tell,” Hyde said. “I was hoping that it [the call] would stand. I had no idea.”
After Shohei Ohtani fouled out to left, the game moved to the 16th inning.
The game was played in six hours, 21 minutes, the longest game since the Orioles lost to Tampa Bay in 18 innings on September 20, 2013.
“I’ve never had to do anything like this,” Hyde said. “This wasn’t something I thought about at FanFest.”