NEW YORK (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles knew the end was coming and had left the ballpark by the time they were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention when Cal Raleigh's ninth-inning homer gave Seattle a 2-1 win over Oakland and the American League's final wild-card spot.
Baltimore arrived in New York needing to win its final six games while having Tampa Bay and Seattle lose all of theirs.
Still, the Orioles' 2-1 victory over the Yankees assured Baltimore would end its streak of five straight losing seasons.
“We take pride in helping the young guy,” pitcher Jordan Lyles said Friday. “We got a lot of young talented guys here, excited, happy, fortunate to be a part of it. But as older guys we might not be here in the future but this organization, the city of Baltimore is definitely in good hands.”
At 81-76, the Orioles need one win to become the first team since 1900 to finish with a winning record just one year after losing 110 games.
“We’re still in it with six games left in the season, and nobody thought that way from November to March," manager Brandon Hyde said before the game. "We never heard that there was any sort of chance that this team was going to have a chance to make the postseason. And to be able to play the way we have and put ourselves in a position, I’m really proud of our players and coaches and everybody involved. The city of Baltimore and a lot of people enjoyed watching our team play this year.”
Baltimore lost 115 games in 2018, 108 the following year, went 25-35 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and 54-110 last season.
“I did want to surprise some people this year, and I wanted us to play a better brand of baseball that we have in the past,” said Hyde, hired before the 2019 season. “Seeing all the 0% postseason possibilities and then people discussing playoffs with our team, I that that’s been the most enjoyable thing this year, of proving people wrong."
Baltimore shed veterans, and its $60 million payroll as of Aug. 31 was 29th among the 30 teams, trailing only Oakland and just ahead of Pittsburgh.
“Every single bullpen guy back down there makes the minimum," Hyde said. “We have two rookies in our rotation that didn’t break with us. We have another rotation starter claimed off waivers.”
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