Orioles have their late-innings lead ...

Well, the Orioles got what they wanted.

They've got a lead after seven innings. During their magical marvelous miraculous regular season, the Orioles owned the lead after seven innings in 74 of their games ... and won all 74 of them.

Now they've got that lead after seven innings in the winner-take-all Wild Card Game against the Texas Rangers. The O's scored an unearned/manufactured run in the first inning, and a perfectly legitimate run in the sixth when Adam Jones followed up a couple of singles with a sacrifice fly.

Meanwhile, Baltimore starter Joe Saunders gave up just one run in 5⅔ innings, which was two or three innings more many of us thought he would last. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Buck Showalter ignored convention and replaced Saunders; the move paid off when sidearmer Darren O'Day retired Nelson Cruz to end the inning.

In the seventh, the Orioles pushed their lead to 3-1. With one out, Ryan Flaherty singled off Yu Darvish; next, pinch-runner Robert Andino moved to second when Manny Machado bunted (unsuccessfully) for a base hit. Andino stole third, then scored a moment later when Nate McLouth singled off Derek Holland, who'd just replaced Darvish on the mound. Here's that big hit:

Osrbi

McLouth reached second on an errant pickoff throw, but Holland escaped the inning by striking out J.J. Hardy.

You might wonder why Ron Washington chose Holland in that spot, with lefty reliever Robbie Ross in the bullpen. Maybe he'll explain that one after the game.

O'Day came out for the bottom of the seventh, and retired two Rangers on ground balls, and the next on a strikeout.

After seven innings, the Orioles' lead is 3-1.

74-0.

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