The Baltimore Orioles extended their dream season for at least one more night on Thursday, winning yet another one run game in extra innings. Shortstop J.J. Hardy came through with the big extra-innings hit for Baltimore Thursday night, driving a double deep into the left-center gap to drive in Manny Machado, giving the Orioles the 2-1 victory and forcing a decisive Game 5.
For the second time in the 2012 postseason, left-hander Joe Saunders came through for the Birds in an elimination game, holding the Yankees' bats mostly silent for 5⅔ innings while striking out five. Saunders then handed the ball off to the Orioles' no-longer invincible bullpen, who reverted to their invulnerable ways by shutting out the Yankees for next 7⅓ innings.
For blogger Paul Folk at Camden Chat, Game 4 was yet another chance to marvel in the miracle that has been the Orioles' 2012 season:
Did that really just happen?
Is the Orioles' season still alive? How did this...what is this...I don't even...
These are your 2012 Baltimore Orioles, folks. Just when you've counted them out, just when you think they've gotten themselves into a quagmire they can't escape, they simply laugh, reach into their bag of tricks, and pull off a dazzling display of Orioles Magic at the very last moment to remind us why they're the most incredible, enjoyable O's team in recent memory. And I don't even care if I mixed like 10 metaphors in that last sentence. I'm too excited to make any sense!
The Orioles still have their work cut out for them if they want to join the Detroit Tigers in the AL Championship Series. The O's struggling offense will take on Yankees ace CC Sabathia in Game 5, who held them to just two runs in 8⅔ innings in Game 1.
Game time for Friday's winner-take-all matchup at Yankee Stadium is set for 5 p.m. Eastern. It will be aired on TBS.