The Baltimore Orioles have won six of their last 10 games, but perhaps no win was as important as their 11-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 10 in Detroit.
The Orioles hit four home runs, including two from Matt Wieters, and Ubaldo Jimenez picked up his seventh win of the season on the mound as Baltimore routed the Tigers Saturday afternoon.
Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) throws to complete a double play as Detroit Tigers’ Cameron Maybin (4) slides on a Miguel Cabrera ground ball in the eighth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The lopsided victory helped Baltimore advance to a 77-64 record and hold on to the fifth and final seed in the American League playoff hunt—for the time being. Had Baltimore lost Saturday’s game to Detroit, the Tigers (76-65) would have slid into the fifth seed, leaving the O’s on the outside looking in on the playoff picture.
The Orioles actually lost to the Tigers the previous night, 4-3, on Sept. 9. That allowed Detroit to climb one game above Baltimore in the playoff race. It also allowed the AL East division rival New York Yankees to gain ground in their playoff hunt, too. Like Detroit, the Yankees are right on Baltimore’s heel with a 76-65 record.
Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Mychal Givens (60) throws against the Detroit Tigers in the eighth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The good news for the O’s is they’re still in play for not only a wildcard seed but also for the division title. The Boston Red Sox (79-62) lead Baltimore in the AL East by only two games. And even if the Orioles can’t somehow catch Boston, they can still possibly jump up one seed into fourth place by bumping the Toronto Blue Jays, who lead Baltimore by just one game with a current 78-63 record.
There are just more than 20 games remaining for the Orioles in the regular season schedule. That’s plenty enough games for Baltimore to finish strong and secure a position of strength for the postseason. But they’ll have to win as many games as possible or risk the possibility of spending October watching the playoffs from the couch at home.