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Nate McLouth’s walk-off single ignites huge Orioles celebration (video)

(PATRICK SEMANSKY/AP)

An already exciting game was stamped with an exclamation point when outfielder Nate McLouth knocked in Manny Machado in the 9th inning with a walk-off single that propelled the Baltimore Orioles to a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

The victory meant the Orioles kept pace with the Yankees, retaining a share of the lead in the AL East, a statement most baseball wonks far more tuned-in than myself never would have believed would have been uttered in mid-September.

A Camden Yards crowd of 26,076 that was described as “rowdy” in the MLB.com write-up and referred to as “almost like college football crowds” by game hero McLouth erupted as Machado crossed home plate. Machado, a 20-year-old kid only a month removed from playing in Double-A, apparently is developing into something of a phenomenon in Baltimore.

And after the rookie scored, the Orioles players responded, as a wild celebration erupted, highlighted by infielder Chris Davis, a strapping fellow, scooping up McLouth, throwing him over his shoulder like a rag doll and parading him around the field.

McLouth did his best to downplay his late-game heroics during post-game comments:

“There’s so many different contributors and there’s been so many different people kind of step up. There were plenty of guys who did big things tonight.”

That seems to be a prevailing theme for this Baltimore Orioles squad who, for all intents and purposes, came out of nowhere and are threatening to win the AL East for the first time since 1997. Who woulda thunk it, right?

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