Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/24/13
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The long game ended swiftly. For the first time in his last eight appearances Jim Johnson retired the side in order and finally saved No. 40. Johnson’s ninth inning ended a Friday night epic between the Orioles and Oakland Athletics. His uneventful ninth ended the Orioles 9-7 win over the Athletics before 36761 at Oriole Park. The Orioles scored six runs in the fourth to take a 6-3 lead lost the advantage in the fifth but scored three in the seventh to get the win and cut Oakland’s lead in the Wild Card to two games. “I think it was a relief for a lot of people” Johnson said. “Tonight was a crazy game with the way it went four runs six runs three runs all that. We know what we have to do. We know what’s in front of us.” Nearly every game in the season’s final five weeks is against a contender and it was with that in mind the Orioles obtained Bud Norris at last month’s trading deadline. Even though the Orioles (69-58) have won all five of the games Norris started he coughed up a lead and couldn’t even make it through the fifth inning. The bullpen allowed just three hits in 4 1/3 innings. Norris allowed seven runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. “He just couldn’t quite put somebody away” manager Buck Showalter said. “I think he'd be the first to tell you that he paid for his mistakes.” Brian Roberts had his sixth career grand-slam his first in nearly four years as part of the six-run fourth and stole his first base since he injured his right hamstring stealing one on Apr. 4. “This is what we all play for. You want to be in the race in August and September and I haven't had a whole lot of opportunities to do that in my career” Roberts said. Francisco Rodriguez (2-0) who pitched a scoreless top of the seventh got the win. Tommy Hunter worked the eighth and Johnson back in the closer’s role became just the third Orioles pitcher to save 40 in a season.
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