The Baltimore Orioles bullpen did something Wednesday night that it did not do during the entire 2012 regular season. This was not a good thing. Going into Game 3 Wednesday, the Orioles were an incredible 76-0 this season when leading after seven innings. They are now 76-1, and that one could end up being more important than any of the other 76.
The extra-inning loss to the New York Yankees, which puts the Birds one game away from elimination in their Division Series matchup with the Bronx Bombers, came at the hands of perhaps the most unlikely source: 40-year-old journeyman Raul Ibañez.
For Orioles blogger Stacey at Camden Chat, the biggest disappointment brought about by the loss was the squandering of Miguel Gonzalez's great start:
The Orioles fell to the Yankees today in a game that was perhaps the most heartbreaking I can ever remember watching. Up 2-1 in the 9th inning and just three outs from a win and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, closer Jim Johnson gave up a game-tying home run to pinch hitter Raul Ibanez. The game went to extra innings, and nine batters later, Ibanez homered again off of Brian Matusz to end the game.
There were a lot of things to be disappointed in tonight, but I want to start with something that wasn't, and that is Miguel Gonzalez. Gonzalez went into Yankee Stadium and pitched an absolute gem. The 28-year-old rookie who before this season was out of major-league baseball completely shut down the Yankees for seven innings. It was beautiful, and it's a shame that the Orioles squandered his fine outing.
The Orioles will look to veteran left-hander Joe Saunders in Game 4 Thursday night to save them from elimination for the second time this season. The Yankees will call upon right-hander Phil Hughes to take them to the ALCS for the first time since 2010.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and it will be aired on TBS.