Dean Kremer (13-5) allowed two hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight, and the Orioles reached 100 wins for the sixth time in team history and first since 1980. Baltimore prevailed in a brutally tough division that relegated the Red Sox and New York Yankees to afterthoughts.
Now the Orioles — two years after losing 110 games — will enter the postseason as the top seed in the American League.
It was a night of celebration at Camden Yards. The team announced on the scoreboard after the third inning that it had reached an agreement with the state keeping the Orioles in Baltimore for at least the next 30 years. The team’s lease at Camden Yards was set to expire at the end of 2023.
During the seventh-inning stretch, the scoreboard had another treat for Baltimore fans — the sight of Orioles great Cal Ripken in attendance.
Baltimore won the AL East five times in six years after divisional play began in 1969, but this is only the fifth division title for the Orioles since then — and first since 2014. Baltimore’s most recent pennant and World Series title were in 1983.
The Orioles had to work for this AL East crown. Tampa Bay began the season with 13 consecutive victories and led Baltimore by 6 1/2 games after a victory at Camden Yards on May 8. But the Orioles took the last two games of that series, stayed close to the Rays and passed them shortly after the All-Star break.
Baltimore has gone 91 consecutive series of at least two decisions without being swept.
Santander’s homer off Chris Sale (6-5) gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the first. After the Red Sox put men on first and third with one out in the sixth, Hall relieved Kremer and retired pinch-hitter Adam Duvall and Alex Verdugo on a strikeout and a groundout.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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