NEW YORK -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter says his team works to be "brilliant in the basics." Baltimore limits errors and capitalizes on opportunities -- it's why the O's entered the American League Division Series with a 74-0 record when leading after seven innings and, more appropriate for Wednesday night, as winners of 16 straight extra-inning games.
Both streaks are now over, the former ending Sunday after the Yankees' five-run ninth inning in Game 1, and the latter when Raul Ibanez hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning of Game 3 Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
"It's very hard to do what these young men do for a living," Showalter said. "It doesn't always work out perfectly, and that's part of it -- it's happened at times during the year, and it's part of the process."
On paper, the Orioles felt good about coming into Yankee Stadium needing to win two of three. Baltimore was the only team to post a winning record against the Yankees in the Bronx this season, taking all three series against their division rivals. Their only extra-inning losses this season came against New York -- on April 10 and 11, the teams' fifth and sixth games of the year -- but that was at Camden Yards.
The trends were favorable. But the difference on Wednesday was that the Orioles were not entirely brilliant in the basics. They got seven innings of one-run ball from starter Miguel Gonzalez, but closer Jim Johnson blew his second save of the series when he gave up the game-tying home run by Ibanez in the ninth and Brian Matusz followed suit in the 12th.
It leaves the Orioles with one option: put it in the rearview mirror and play the same game on Thursday night that the Orioles played all season.
"Stunned, no. Stunned left me a while ago," Showalter said. "I got a grip on how hard this is to do. The problem with a lot of coaches and managers, they forget about how hard the game is to play and how tough a night they've had on given times. It's very hard to do what they do.
"When you see it done with the consistency in the Major Leagues when people do it, Jimmy is a big-hearted, talented guy, that believe me, we'd be at home watching without people like Jim Johnson. He's a special guy. We're real proud of him, and you'll see him again tomorrow night, I hope."
Call it managing by example.
"We've all worked so hard this year to get to this point and we can't let one bad pitch or one game ruin it," Matusz said. "Just got to move forward and stay positive."