Baltimore Orioles centerfielderBaltimore Orioles center fielder Stevie Wilkerson made major league history on Thursday (July 25) by becoming the first position player to earn a save. Wilkerson was called in to pitch in the bottom of the 16th inning to close out the game against the Los Angeles Angels after Jonathan Villar's two-run home run gave the Orioles a 10-8 lead in the top of the frame.
Wilkerson, who was lobbing baseballs with an average speed of just 55 miles-per-hour, managed to retire the Angels in order to lock down his first career save, and do something that had never been done since Major League Baseball began counting the stat in 1969.
Wilkerson was a key player in the game. He misplayed a ball in the seventh inning that gave the Angels the lead. In the top of the eighth inning, he made up for his miscue, tying the game with a double. The Orioles would take a one-run lead in the ninth inning, only to have Mychal Givens give up the lead in the bottom half of the inning.
The Orioles seemed poised to win the game after taking an 8-5 lead in the 15th inning but Mike Trout tied the game with a bases-clearing double.
With no pitchers left, the Orioles turned to Wilkerson, who has pitched in two blowout games this season, to close out the game. He needed just 14 pitches to retire the Angels in order, getting Albert Pujols to fly out to end the marathon game after six hours and 19 minutes.
"I don't think I've wrapped my head around it yet," Wilkerson said after the game. "What a wild game. That was just crazy. I'm glad I could go out there and be part of getting us a win."
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