July 13, 1991 was a rare highlight for the Orioles in Oakland. For as long as I can remember, it seems like the Oakland Coliseum (or O.co Coliseum, as some idiot decided it should be called) has been a special house of horrors for the Birds. But suddenly, there is sweet relief. Jim Johnson wriggled out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the ninth inning today to seal a 7-3 win and to guarantee the Orioles their first series win in Oakland since 2007. But by taking the first three games of this four-game set, the O's are also assured of winning their first four-game road series against the A's since July 31-August 3, 1997. Just as a refresher, the club's winning pitchers in that series were Armando Benitez, Mike Mussina, and Shawn Boskie. (I write, read, and think about the Orioles 365 days a year, and it probably would have taken me 100 guesses or more to tab Shawn Boskie. He won a half-dozen games here.) Not that I'm getting greedy, but a win in tomorrow's finale would give Baltimore their first four-game sweep in Oakland since May 22-25, 1987. Ken Dixon had three saves in that series, don't ya know.
A lot of smart people assumed that the O's would come back down to earth in 2013 after going 29-9 in one-run games in their wild-card run last year. It's still early, but we've got 24 games to look at, almost 15 percent of the season. The Orioles are 15-9, including an 8-4 road record and a 9-6 mark in the brutal American League East. They're in second place in the division, 1.5 games behind the Red Sox and 6.5 up on the offseason darlings in Toronto. I'm glad the good times aren't over in Birdland just yet.