Calling the Pen: Orioles' Colton Cowser makes a key save, even if it's a little wet -

Calling the Pen: Orioles’ Colton Cowser makes a key save, even if it’s a little wet

Photo credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports


The Orioles had just survived a wild 9-7 win over the Kansas City Royals, needing to call upon closer Craig Kimbrel in a game they once led, 7-0. Kimbrel had a 1-2-3 ninth thanks to a diving catch by rightfielder Anthony Santander.

The postgame attention, though, was on leftfielder Colton Cowser. He entered the game in the last of the seventh after Austin Hays felt a calf muscle tighten. Cowser made a key play in the seventh, throwing out Kyle Isbel at third in a four-run inning for the Royals that made the score, 8-7.

He also caught the final out, securing save No. 422 for Kimbrel, tying him with Billy Wagner for seventh on the all-time list.

There was just one problem: The ball didn’t stay in Cowser’s glove.

With his back to the fence, he flipped it over his head. It landed in the fountain at Kauffman Stadium.

Cowser quickly realized he had done something he wished he hadn’t.

“Right when I threw it, I said, ‘Craig has a lot of saves, that one might have been important.’ I literally told Ced [centerfielder Cedric Mullins], ‘I might have messed up.’ And it turns out I did,” he told reporters in Kansas City.

My cousin Dottie once made a pineapple upside-down cake that she asked me to carry from the car to a picnic table at Greenbrier State Park. I was goofing off, carrying it with one hand, when suddenly I lost control and watched it fall on the gravel in the parking lot.

The pineapple upside-down cake was upside-down or right-side up, but it was ruined. I felt horrible, wishing I hadn’t been so foolish. I couldn’t take it back, and Dottie could have made me feel worse. But she didn’t. She actually laughed, and my fondness for her grew in that embarrassing moment.

On Sunday in Kansas City, the ball that had been underwater was sitting in a container of rice in Kimbrel’s locker to help it dry. Kimbrel said: “I could tell [Cowser] was a little distraught about it. I told him not to worry too much.”

Cowser appeared to follow Kimbrel’s advice when he hit a home run in his first at-bat on Sunday. The ball landed in the fountain.

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