Here's how the Orioles' season went in 2012: In the top of the eighth inning, with runners on first and second and one out, announcer Ernie Johnson said:
Here's Lew Ford, the DH.
Which is a ridiculous, anachronism of a sentence. It would have been ridiculous when Ford was in his late-20s, much less in his mid-30s, five years after he was last in the majors. Lew Ford, DH. Goodness.
And a few seconds after Lew Ford, DH, was announced, he drove in a run.
That is the 2012 Orioles, distilled. Unfortunately, just like the 2012 Orioles, it wasn't quite enough. The New York Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles in Game 5 of the ALDS on Friday, winning 3-1, moving on to face the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series, and proving there is no God.
Okay, that's laying it on a little thick. But was there a non-Yankees fan in the world who wasn't pulling just a little bit for the Orioles? Unless Eddie Murray keyed your car in high school, it was hard not to get caught up with the Orioles' brand of outcasts and ne'er-do-wells doing well. Nate McLouth, Joe Saunders, Lew Ford … it was an impressive bunch. It was unexpected.
But the Yankees had Charles Carsten Sabathia, and they got to deploy him twice. Sabathia was excellent in Game 5, throwing the first complete game for the Yankees in the playoffs since Roger Clemens in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS. The last left-hander to pitch a complete game for the Yankees in the postseason was David Wells in Game 3 of the 1997 ALDS. Sabathia allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out nine.
The Yankees didn't have a runner through four innings against Jason Hammel, but they broke through in the fifth. Mark Teixeira opened the frame with a single, and he stole second when no one was paying attention. Raul Ibañez singled to center, sending Teixeira home and giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the sixth, there was a little controversy, as McLouth hit a ball deep down the right-field line. It was called foul, but the umpires took the time to review it:
There are people on the Internet who are sure it was fair, and there are people on the Internet who are sure it was foul. They seem to align perfectly with their rooting interests. You never would have guessed. The umpires declared it wasn't obvious enough to overturn, and the foul call stood. McLouth struck out on the next pitch when play resumed.
In the bottom of the sixth, Derek Jeter singled and came around on a long Ichiro double to put the Yankees up two, and in the seventh, Curtis Granderson hit a moon shot into the right-field stands to put the Yankees up 3-0.
The aforementioned Ford got the Orioles' only run in the top of the eighth, which was the best chance of the night for Baltimore. After Ford's single, Robert Andino dribbled a ball back to Sabathia, who looked toward an empty third before throwing too late to first, loading the bases. But McLouth struck out swinging, and Derek Jeter made a nice play, charging a J.J. Hardy grounder to get the last out of the inning.
In the ninth, Sabathia came out and shut down the Orioles in order. The Yankees will host the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday.