Orioles 2, Guardians 1
(This game was the result of a simulation done through What If Sports. It matched the Baltimore Orioles All-Time Team against the Cleveland Guardians All-Time Team. This game did not actually happen.)
A 2–1 final score between the Orioles and Guardians came as no surprise with Bob Feller and Jim Palmer on the mound. Feller gave up five hits, surrendered two runs — one earned — while striking out four across eight innings. On most days, that’s good enough for a win. But Palmer, and the defense behind him, was a little bit better. He also went eight, and despite having significantly more traffic on the bases, managed to hold the Guardians to a single run.
Hoiles Plays Hero for Orioles
Feller did a nice job suppressing the Orioles offense in this one. He only allowed three extra base hits in the game, and the Orioles never had more than one hit in an inning. They scored the first run of the game in the second thanks to a fielding error by Lou Boudreau. He booted a grounder off the bat of Ken Williams, who advanced to third on a single by Brooks Robinson. The next batter, Bobby Grich, lofted a fly to centerfield. Williams narrowly avoided the tag on a perfect throw from Tris Speaker to score.
The Orioles added another run in the fourth with a solo shot from Chris Hoiles that proved to be the difference in the game.
Hoiles had an opportunity to extend the lead for the Orioles in the sixth. Cal Ripken, Jr. reached on an error and advanced to third on a single by Eddie Murray. With one out, Hoiles hit a shallow fly to center, but it wasn’t deep enough for Ripken to score.
In the seventh, Grich dropped a pop up into no-man’s land behind second base and wound up with a one-out double. In a questionable move, manager Earl Weaver called for George Sisler to sacrifice Grich to third. The sacrifice was successful, but Feller coaxed a weak grounder out of Paul Blair to end the inning.
In the eighth, Ripken walked to lead off the inning, and Murray drove one to the wall in right. Elmer Flick managed to track it down to keep the Orioles lead at one.
Palmer Dodges Trouble
Palmer only had two 1-2-3 innings as he pitched around baserunners all day. The Guardians threatened in the second inning as the frame opened with Palmer hitting Victor Martinez. Martinez advanced to second on Nap Lajoie’s one-out single to left. Speaker sent a grounder that threatened to plate Lajoie. Grich, however, dove into the hole to save the run and managed to get the force on Lajoie as he slid into second. Palmer induced a lazy fly from Flick to strand the runners on first and third.
The Guardians squandered an opportunity in the fifth when Hoiles gunned down Speaker attempting to steal second following a leadoff single. They finally got on the board in the sixth. Jim Thome led off with a solo homer to right, an absolute rocket, to cut the Orioles lead to one.
The Guardians loaded the bases in the seventh inning without recording a hit thanks to two walks and a hit batter. Martinez stepped in with two outs and drove a ball to the warning track in center, but Blair made the inning-ending catch.
Somewhat surprisingly, Palmer came out to pitch the eighth, despite having Mike Mussina, Stu Miller, and Urban Shocker ready in the pen. Palmer’s pitch count was still very low, but he was struggling with command. He managed to strand the bases loaded once again, striking out Earl Averill and inducing a weak grounder from Joe Jackson.
Miller came on in the ninth to record the save. He notched three outs on three total pitches.
Orioles Advance in Tournament, Guardians Eliminated
Up next for the Orioles is the Minnesota Twins on the road. The Twins downed the Los Angeles Angels, 2–1, in their first-round matchup. Full coverage and results can be found at the All-Time Tournament Team Headquarters.
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