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Orioles celebrate postseason berth with walkoff win over Rays, who also got in before game was decided

It was time to celebrate in Baltimore after the Orioles clinched a playoff spot and beat the Rays, who also locked up a postseason berth, in 11 innings.Patrick Smith/Getty

BALTIMORE — With the division title still in doubt, it wasn’t clear if the Orioles would stage a big celebration when they merely clinched a postseason berth.

After a win like this, how could they not?

Cedric Mullins hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 11th inning, and the Orioles edged the Rays, 5-4, on Sunday after both teams clinched spots in the playoffs. Cleveland’s win over Texas meant Baltimore and Tampa Bay were both in — but Orioles fans ended up with more to cheer about than just that.

Moments later, Adam Frazier doubled home the tying run in the bottom of the ninth off Pete Fairbanks to send the game to extra innings. That was the first of two occasions when the Orioles tied it while down to their last out. Adley Rutschman hit an RBI single for Baltimore in the 10th.


“That’s exactly how we’ve played all year,” Mullins said after his team’s major league-leading 47th comeback win. “We pass it off to the next guy, and even if one guy doesn’t get through the other guy’s going to.”

D.L. Hall (2-0) threw a scoreless 11th, retiring the Rays on a popup and two grounders. Ryan O’Hearn then sacrificed the automatic runner to third for Baltimore, giving Mullins a chance to win the game. His flyball to center off Jake Diekman (0-2) was easily deep enough to end it, touching off an on-field celebration in which the players wore orange shirts saying “TAKE OCTOBER” on them.

The Orioles eventually made it into their clubhouse where they held a bubbly party with plastic protecting their lockers from getting soaked.

“We had a couple meetings about it. The veteran players talked us through it,” general manager Mike Elias said. “If we had lost today’s game, I think we would have done a toast, something a little more subdued. I think they wanted to celebrate after a walkoff win, so this worked out perfectly.”


There was plastic atop some lockers in the Tampa Bay clubhouse, too, but it wasn’t unrolled and the atmosphere was quiet. The Rays are headed to the postseason for a fifth straight year.

“They’re all special in their own way,” said Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, ejected in the bottom of the ninth over a checked swing. “I just spoke to the club really briefly, congratulated the guys in the room, the guys that have contributed throughout that are not in the room with us. It’s taken a lot to get here. I think everybody realizes that.”

The Orioles salvaged a split in this key four-game series at Camden Yards and took a two-game lead over Tampa Bay atop the AL East. Baltimore also holds the tiebreaker over the Rays.

“Two great teams going at it,” Cash said. “We did everything to win the game, and then they answered and kind of came back and they did everything to win the game.”

Tristan Gray homered in his second big league game to put Tampa Bay ahead in the eighth inning, and Christian Bethancourt followed with a solo shot to make it 3-1, but Rutschman hit a solo shot in the bottom half and Frazier tied it an inning later.

The Texas-Cleveland game ended shortly before Frazier’s double down the line in left field made it 3-all. Between the ninth and 10th innings, a message appeared on the scoreboard announcing that the Orioles were in the playoffs, to the delight of the crowd.


The Orioles are postseason bound for the first time since 2016, marking another benchmark for a successful rebuild fueled by their excellent minor league system. Baltimore lost 110 games just two seasons ago before improving to 83-79 in 2022 and taking another big step forward this year.

For Tampa Bay, a postseason berth has seemed likely since back in April, when the Rays looked dominant in winning their first 13 games. They were eventually passed by Baltimore, but they’ve been able to keep winning despite losing ace Shane McClanahan to Tommy John surgery. Wander Franco, Tampa Bay’s star shortstop, has been on administrative leave while authorities in the Dominican Republic investigate him for an alleged relationship with a minor.