Originally written on The Majors National  |  Last updated 10/6/12

Baltimore’s amazing run through the 2012 season continued Friday night as they defeated the two-time defending AL Champion Texas Rangers 5-1 in the inaugural American League Wild Card game.

O’s starter Joe Saunders who was acquired from the Diamondbacks in August, tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball, out pitching Japanese phenom Yu Darvish. Pirates cast off Nate McLouth, who was signed to a minor league deal back in June, had an RBI single in the 7th and a sac fly in the ninth. Reliever Darren O’Day, another cast off this this time though from the Texas Rangers held his team in check over two scoreless innings. Finally 20-year-old Manny Machado provided some much needed insurance offensively for the Birds with an RBI single in the 9th.

The Orioles will now go on to face the New York Yankees in the ALDS beginning Sunday at 6PM ET from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Meanwhile the questions begin to mount for the Texas Rangers who completed a late season MLB collapse. First what will happen to Josh Hamilton (a free agent this offseason) who went 10-for-39 with no homers, 16 strikeouts and no walks in his final nine games. This also included a very costly error in the regular season finale Wednesday against Oakland in which Hamilton dropped a routine pop fly opening the offensive floodgates for the A’s. This eventually led to a confrontation in the dugout between Hamilton and Ron Washington where the Rangers slugger seemed to brush off his manager raising further questions on Washington’s leadership capabilities.

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