The Baltimore Orioles returned home on Monday for the first time since July 12. They also renewed acquaintances with an old friend on an emotional evening at Camden Yards.
Former Oriole Nick Markakis and his new team the Atlanta Braves are in town for a three-game series. The Orioles and Braves treated 26,256 fans to an exciting night of baseball in the series opener.
Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters blasted a home run off Atlanta lefty Louis Avilan in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Orioles a walk-off 2-1 victory. Wieters’ game-winning shot was the fourth of his career and helped the Birds win their third-straight game.
It was definitely weird seeing Markakis running around Camden Yards in an Atlanta uniform, for sure. As we know, he was a high-level and respected Oriole for nine seasons.
As I expected, Markakis was treated with the reverence he deserves as he was the recipient of a couple of standing ovations from Orioles fans. A video tribute to Markakis between innings early in the game was something that gave all of us in attendance a warm and fuzzy feeling.
That warm and fuzzy feeling looked like it would turn to frustration as Atlanta starter Alex Wood silenced the Oriole bats for 7.1 innings. Braves 3B Adonis Garcia homered off Birds’ closer Zach Britton in the ninth to give his club a brief 1-0 advantage.
The Orioles were able to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth as they scored a run off Jim Johnson–another former Oriole–to send the game into extras and set up Wieters’ heroics.
Kevin Guasman was outstanding on the hill for the Birds. The young righty threw 7.2 innings of shutout baseball as he matched zeros with Wood. Over his last 12.2 innings pitched, Gausman has allowed just one run has recorded nine K’s.
Heading into Tuesday night’s second game with the Braves, the Orioles are seven behind the Yankees in the AL East and are three back in the chase for the second Wild Card spot.
Can they make up the difference? I don’t know, but it should be fun watching it all unfold.