NEW YORK -- Orioles reliever Pedro Strop knew what folks were thinking.
"Everybody was asking like, 'Hey, why are you not pitching?'" the righty said after he threw two scoreless innings in Baltimore's 2-1, 13-inning win over the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Division Series on Thursday. "I was like, 'We're fine. I'm not pitching, but we're fine.' We're winning, and I don't want to pay attention on all the things on why you're not pitching, all that kind of stuff, I just want to be ready for whenever the situation you need me to help the team."
Strop, who's season numbers were strong at 5-2 with a 2.44 ERA, struggled down the stretch. He gave up six runs on 13 hits in 8 1/3 innings in September and October, after pitching brilliantly through July.
On Thursday night in a must-win game for the O's, he turned it around quick in the 11th and 12th innings of a game tied at 1 at Yankee Stadium. The 27-year-old's first career postseason appearance -- and first outing in eight days -- ended with his first career postseason win. He struck out two and walked none.
If the O's are going to go deeper into these playoffs, having Strop back on track makes a big difference.
"I was feeling a lot better," Strop said. "Before, just like the opportunity for me to pitch, it wasn't there yet. ... When the opportunity [arose, I was] ready to give my team the opportunity to win."
The entirety of the O's bullpen was needed on Friday, and Darren O'Day threw 2 2/3 hitless innings before Strop entered. Of all the efforts, though, O'Day, was most impressed with Strop.
"I think Pedro is the stand-up guy, just because he hadn't pitched in over a week and he came out there and every pitch meant the game or the season," O'Day said. "He just attacked the strike zone and he's been the horse he's been all year."