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Garceau: Wieters Celebrates A Big Birthday Win In The West

Angel Stadium of Anaheim (The Big A) sits in the shadows of Disneyland and how appropriate that "Something Magic" happened to the Orioles there this weekend. The Orioles headed West with the best record in the American League but most of their winning had come out at home. Camden Yards was the site of 17 of their first 24 wins.  Now they'd face a stiff road test with Anaheim the first stop on 3-city, 9-game trip.

Friday night the Orioles dropped their long-ball calling card on the Angels who had won 6 of their last 7. Joey Rickard and Manny Machado opened the game with back-to-back homers, by the third inning Mark Trumbo had added a 2-run shot. Angels pitcher Hector Santiago had seen enough, he was thrown out of the game in the third inning by the home plate umpire for complaining about pitch calls.

The Orioles 4-1 lead disappeared and the game was tied 4-4 in the 7th inning when Chris Davis delivered. With two-out Deputy Davis took Angels lefty Jose Alvarez for a ride over the left field wall and the Orioles never looked back. The Davis two-run homer part of a 4-home run, 14-hit night with the Birds winning game one 9-4.

Saturday night in Anaheim turned into Sunday morning magic in Baltimore. Most of this night belonged to Angels starter Matt Shoemaker who was simply too good for Baltimore hitters.  He retired the first 14 Orioles with baffling off-speed pitches including a wicked split-finger change up. Shoemaker who came into the game with an ugly 8.49 ERA was doing his best Cy Young impersonation. He struck out a career-high 12 before turning it over to the bullpen leading 1-0 with one out in the eighth inning.

For Baltimore, it looked like one of those nights where you tip your cap to Shoemaker and get ready for the next game.  The Orioles were down to their final out in 9th when a funny thing happened; a birthday party broke out about 1 AM Baltimore time. Down 1-nothing with two out and nobody on, Chris Davis kept the game alive with a single up the middle, Mark Trumbo followed with a walk. Down one, two on and two out, in the distance I thought I heard Orioles Magic playing.

Or was it that Disney hit "It's a Small World after all?" Enter Matt Wieters, who on this day he turned 30, was it time to light the candles? Could he on his day snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat? If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth the Orioles bench was about to become a close second.

Angels pitcher Joe Smith side-armed the pitch to the plate and the birthday-boy launched it deep into the night. Touch 'um all Matt Wieters, a 400 foot game winning bomb into the Magic Kingdom. The Orioles bench exploded with unbridled joy as Wieters trotted around the bases with his super clutch birthday present. The Orioles catcher called it a tough win and added, "I think I'll remember this birthday"...and so will the rest of us who were around at 1 AM to see this signature moment.

Sunday was an ugly 10-2 loss as the Angels avoided the sweep, but mission accomplished 2 out of 3 on the road and another series win. As a man with a hoodie once mumbled "We're on to Houston."


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