10/09/12 1:50 AM ET
Rain does nothing to dampen spirit of O's fans
By Brittany Ghiroli and Andrew Simon / MLB.com
When Game 1 of the American League Division Series finally began at 8:41 p.m. ET, the ballpark remained packed to the brim with a season-high 47,841 fans, most of whom wore orange and black, waved orange towels and didn't shy from making themselves heard. It was an atmosphere several Orioles players lauded after the club's 7-2 loss to the Yankees, and one manager Buck Showalter complimented again before Monday night's Game 2.
"It was everything I thought it would be and more, and I was real proud of our people and our fans who showed up," Showalter said. "A lot of people made a decision, and in today's economy and the whole nine yards, it wasn't free, and we're appreciative. They made it worthwhile and they were part of us being in that ballgame last night. They really were. Our guys fed off of it."
Showalter said that the delay didn't seem to impact the crowd's enthusiasm and may even have benefited the team. Still, with rain again part of the forecast for Monday, he wasn't looking for a repeat.
"I hope it doesn't happen tonight," Showalter said.
O's win takes Hardy off hook for miscue on bases
BALTIMORE -- It was hard to overlook Orioles third-base coach DeMarlo Hale emphatically waving home J.J. Hardy in the third inning of Monday night's American League Division Series contest against the Yankees.
But Hardy did miss Hale's windmilling, a mistake that likely cost the Orioles a run in their eventual 3-2 victory.
Chris Davis had just come through with the game's biggest hit, a two-run single off Andy Pettitte to put Baltimore ahead, 2-1. Adam Jones followed with a ground ball to the right of shortstop Derek Jeter, who couldn't make the play. But Hardy, running from second base, thought otherwise and held up at third when it appeared he could have scored easily as the ball died in the outfield grass.
"I looked back and I thought Jeter fielded it and I thought the only play he had was to throw it to third base and get me when I rounded," said Hardy, who did not see Hale's signal. "It turns out he didn't field it, and I looked like an idiot."
When Hardy got to third, New York's Alex Rodriguez faked receiving a throw. That also might have contributed to Hardy's confusion, although he said he didn't notice Rodriguez either.
As for Rodriguez, he said the "deke play" isn't something he practices.
"Sometimes you're out there and you get creative," he said. "You hope for a miracle and we got one there."
Johnson gives O's owner Angelos special souvenir
BALTIMORE -- Orioles principal owner Peter Angelos made a rare appearance in the home clubhouse following Baltimore's 3-2 win over the Yankees on Monday night, and the 83-year-old was presented with a special gift from closer Jim Johnson.
Johnson presented Angelos with the baseball from his 43rd save on Sept. 16, a game that clinched the organization's first winning season in 15 years. Angelos also went around the clubhouse and shook hands with various players as the Orioles -- fresh off their first postseason win since 1997 -- prepared to head to New York tied 1-1 in the American League Division Series.
It was a busy day for Johnson, who also ponied up a $200 check to reliever Darren O'Day, which will go toward Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. The pitchers had been playing the basketball game H.O.R.S.E. on the court in the tunnel of Camden Yards, with a wager of $20 a game, and Johnson presented the check to O'Day -- along with a larger-than-life cardboard one that hung above his locker -- before Monday's game.
"Usually I go with the free throw for the ending, for the 'E,' and he can't make it," O'Day said of Johnson. "He's like Shaq. Much better pitcher than basketball player, that's for sure."
Thome starts at DH for Orioles against lefty Pettitte
BALTIMORE -- Despite the Yankees starting their second consecutive left-hander, Orioles manager Buck Showalter penciled in veteran designated hitter Jim Thome in Monday's Game 2 starting lineup for the American League Division Series.
"Tough not playing him last night," Showalter said of the left-handed-hitting Thome. "He's got his shin guards and his batting gloves on, about three-fourths of that game last night. He had a good lather going."
The 42-year-old Thome, who is far and away the most experienced Orioles player in the postseason, has served mostly in a platoon since joining the team midseason, although he has decent numbers against Monday's starter Andy Pettitte, going 6-for-28 with two doubles and two RBIs.
"It gives us a chance to be a little more [well-] rounded for nine innings," Showalter said of the lineup, which puts Sunday's DH, Lew Ford, on the bench. "I want to get Jimmy in the fight. He will do a nice job. I'll tell you it also makes our bench better -- now you got two left [handed hitters], two right and two runners on the bench as opposed to one. It makes our bench better."
Orioles' focus not wavering after Game 1 setback
BALTIMORE -- Unlike the Orioles' 69 other losses this year, Sunday's defeat to the Yankees came in the postseason pressure cooker and potentially pushed the club within two games of elimination in the American League Division Series.
But catcher Matt Wieters didn't see the spotlight impact how the team handled the setback. Instead, he saw the same type of focus that allowed the Orioles to avoid a losing streak of longer than two games over the season's final two months.
"It was something to where I haven't experienced a playoff loss before, so you don't really know what to expect when you get back in the clubhouse," Wieters said on Monday. "But no, everybody was -- it's one game, and that's how you had to go into it. It's one game, and we all came back ready to go today with not much of a memory of what happened last night and just ready to get a win today."
Manager Buck Showalter also wasn't about to blow the loss out of proportion, even as he acknowledged the gravity of the situation.
"We've had tough losses a lot this year," he said. "That's the peaks and valleys.
"But obviously the sense of urgency changes a little bit because of the math of the series."
Extra rest could benefit Gonzalez for Game 3
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles will tab 28-year-old rookie Miguel Gonzalez to start Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday night in New York.
Gonzalez will follow rookie Wei-Yin Chen, who took the mound on Monday night with six days' rest. The club has also taken great care in preserving Gonzalez, who was signed out of the Mexican Winter Leagues and started the season as a reliever.
The right-hander, who had just one career start above Double-A, has been one of the best stories this season, and the Orioles have closely monitored his innings down the stretch. Gonzalez has pitched to a 4.55 ERA in nine starts on regular rest, a mark that drops to 2.52 when getting six or more days of rest.
First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on TBS.
Gonzalez last pitched Tuesday against the Rays, throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings at Tropicana Field. He has excelled on the road and is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in two career starts at Yankee Stadium.
How has he been able to be so successful?
"First off, it's location," catcher Matt Wieters said of Gonzalez, who has a 3.25 ERA in 18 games (15 starts). "He can locate his fastball, which is going to give any pitcher a good chance to succeed, and he's been able to improve his offspeed as the year has gone on and really feel like he has four pitches that he can throw at any time and in any count."
Tickets for possible ALCS games on sale Tuesday
BALTIMORE -- Tickets for potential American League Championship Series games at Camden Yards will go on sale on Tuesday morning.
As the lower-seeded team in a possible matchup against the A's or Tigers, the Orioles would host Games 3 and 4 as well as an if-necessary Game 5 in the best-of-seven series. Tickets for those contests -- set for Oct. 16-18 -- will become available to the general public at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, exclusively at orioles.com/postseason.
Those with season-ticket plans already have had an opportunity to purchase tickets for the ALCS, as part of the club's postseason invoicing process and via an exclusive online presale this past Saturday. Fans who previously registered for the postseason ticket opportunity at orioles.com were notified this weekend if they were selected for the chance to purchase during a special online presale that began on Monday.
While an on-sale date for World Series tickets has not been announced, fans wishing to purchase tickets before they're available to the general public have two options.
The first is to place a $250-per-seat deposit on a 2013 full or partial season-ticket plan by Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. The second is to enter a valid email address at orioles.com/postseason for a chance to be selected to participate in a special presale.
Markakis has pins removed from left thumb
BALTIMORE -- As expected, Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis got the pins removed from his broken left thumb on Monday, and he will be in a splint for the next two weeks.
Markakis, who was struck by a CC Sabathia fastball on Sept. 8, has been traveling with the team since his injury, and he was seen by hand specialist Dr. Brian Schofield in Sarasota, Fla., last week with the determination being to let the pins stay in a little longer to allow the area to fully heal.
A deep postseason run could open the door for Markakis -- the longest-tenured Orioles player behind Brian Roberts -- to make a return. The club's Opening Day right fielder, Markakis hit .298/.363/.471 in 104 regular-season games.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.