The Baltimore Orioles clinched their first American League East title in 17 years by beating the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-2, on Sept. 16.
The Baltimore Orioles are American League East champions.
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The Orioles clinched the division -- their first AL East title in 17 years -- after they beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-2, on Sept. 16, per MLB.com's David Wilson:
"The Baltimore Orioles waited 17 years for a moment to celebrate like this. Ubaldo Jimenez retired the final 10 he faced and Steve Pearce hit a key homer as the Orioles earned their first American League East crown since 1997 with an 8-2 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
"After the final out, the O's bench streamed onto the field. In the center of the celebration were all the unlikely faces that had turned this O's team into a champion. With Matt Wieters done for the season with an elbow injury, Nick Hundley caught the entire game. With Chris Davis suspended, first baseman Pearce smashed a first-inning three-run shot. With Manny Machado finished with a knee injury, third baseman Jimmy Paredes belted a solo homer in the second.
"Alejandro De Aza's bases-clearing triple in the seventh -- he was acquired in a late-August trade -- blew the game open.
"Really, the only thing that did fit with the projections the Orioles hoped for back in March was that Jimenez was on the mound. Baltimore brought him in on a four-year, $50 million deal in hopes that he would pitch in an important game like this one.
"Despite that, his role in the clincher is even more surprising. Jimenez (5-9) made his first start since Aug. 16 and limited the Blue Jays to two runs on two hits in five innings while walking four and striking out six.
"Drew Hutchinson had the potential to make this city wait another day for a champion. In six career starts against the O's before Tuesday, Hutchinson (10-12) had been 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA.
"There were 35,297 at Camden Yards to celebrate a division title, and they weren't going to let a middling starting pitcher who transforms into an All-Star when he faces the O's stop them. They relished every strike Jimenez threw and lamented each time he fell behind in counts.
"Toronto scored twice against Jimenez in the first two innings, and then something clicked. Jimenez pitched a 1-2-3- third on nine pitches. Then another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth on 12. He set down the final 10 batters he faced in order and left to a standing ovation after five innings. In the biggest game of the season, Jimenez delivered a $50 million effort.
"When he left the game, the preparations could begin. Bottles of champagne were moved to the Orioles' clubhouse. Soon there would be showers and a celebration for a historic moment achieved by this unlikely bunch."
The Baltimore Sun's Childs Walker discussed the impact this historic win has on Orioles fans in his Sept. 16 article:
"The Orioles clinching a division title had been inevitable for weeks. But for fans who'd waited 17 years to reclaim bragging rights in the American League East, witnessing the actual moment at Camden Yards Tuesday night seemed essential.
"A sweet moment it was, with orange and white confetti raining from the upper deck as the Orioles formed an exultant mob on the field after beating the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-2, to seize their first divisional title since 1997.
"'This was awesome. The crowd was awesome,' said Marc Parisi of Towson, who waved a handmade 'Merry Clinchmas' sign, complete with the Oriole Bird in a Santa hat.
"Fans remained in the stands more than hour past the final pitch, watching the Orioles hug and whoop amid sporadic jets of champagne. Centerfielder Adam Jones waived a championship flag and sprayed beer on fans as he celebrated with them along the first-base line.
"'It was just a rush tonight,' said Delaware resident Jim Osman, who'd bought his ticket in the wee hours of the morning and emerged from the park clinching a fistful of orange streamers. 'How couldn't it be, watching them do this?'
"From the time the Orioles reduced their magic number to 1 on Monday night, more than 11,000 fans purchased tickets for Tuesday's potential clincher.
"'I've been here for enough things that I felt like I needed to see this,' said Dave Zebron of Perryville, one of the walk-up buyers.
"Clinching division titles used to be a familiar experience in Baltimore. From 1969 to 1983, the Orioles of Earl Weaver, Frank and Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray won seven of them.
"But with their victory over the Blue Jays, the Orioles secured just their second American League East crown since 1983.
"Fans joined in on the celebrations in the bars outside the stadium."
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