That time is over.
A loss in Game 1 of the ALDS has put the resilient O's up against it once again. When they play the Yankees in Game 2 on Monday night, they'll be fighting to keep the series competitive. If New York makes it a 2-for-2 sweep at Camden Yards, the Yanks will need to win only one of three straight home games in order to advance.
The division champs would like their odds an awful lot in that situation.
"You want one [win], but now we're going to get greedy and ask for two," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "It's that old cliche, one game at a time. You definitely don't want to lose the first two here, obviously, then you put yourself behind the eight ball going back home. One win's important, but we definitely want that second one tomorrow."
It will be a battle of left-handers in prime time when the series continues on Monday. That's about all the two starting pitchers have in common, though.
The Yankees will trot out venerable Andy Pettitte, the 40-year-old October icon, for his 43rd career postseason start. Pettitte has been around so long that he's pitched at Camden Yards in the playoffs before -- back in the 1996 AL Championship Series.
The Orioles will counter with Wei-Yin Chen, a native of Taiwan who is in his first year in the Major Leagues. Chen had a strong year in his Orioles debut, but he's never pitched in a game like this one. It's not quite do-or-die for the Orioles, but it's close.
"I definitely think we need to get a win while we're here," Orioles outfielder Chris Davis said. "It's big to win in front of your home fans, and obviously going on the road is going to be tough. But no, it's not a must-win."
New York will hope to drop some early runs on Chen and play with a lead, taking the Camden crowd and the Baltimore relief corps out of the equation. The Yankees repeatedly threatened on Sunday, tallying 10 hits and seven walks, but had trouble converting opportunities before a five-run ninth.
"Playoffs are all about getting the hits in the situation," said Robinson Cano, who doubled in two runs in the ninth. "I know I was 0-for-4 [before the double], but that's what you want to go through. I'll take the 0-for-4 to get a hit in a big situation."
The O's, meanwhile, will be looking to get back to the formula that served them so well all season, and that almost delivered again on Sunday. Get enough starting pitching to keep it close, scratch out enough wins to be in the game at the end, and rely on a deep bullpen to bring it home.
"I don't have any doubt what type of mentality our guys will have as we go forward in this series," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said."
Yankees: Swisher surge?
A year ago, Nick Swisher got on base five times in a five-game ALDS loss to the Tigers. He's already more than halfway to that mark after one game of this year's series.
The switch-hitting outfielder has endured a slew of playoff frustration in his career, with a lifetime .169 postseason batting average coming into this year. But on Sunday, he singled in a run and drew two walks, perhaps an indication that things are going to turn around for him.
"We drew a lot of walks today, just trying to get these guys in the strike zone," Swisher said. "They've got great stuff, and you don't want to be adding any strikes if you don't have to."
Swisher ended the regular season on a tear, giving reason to think he could have a strong postseason. He was 24-for-59 (.407) with 14 walks for a .521 on-base percentage over his last 16 games.
"Just been rolling along," he said. "Not really thinking about it."
The Yankees' lineup against Chen will likely have a little bit of a different look, as compared to both Game 1 of the ALDS and to matchups with lefties in the regular season.
It's likely that Raul Ibanez, who started at designated hitter against Jason Hammel, will not reprise that role against a left-hander. However, the man who often slid into the lineup against lefties, Andruw Jones, is not on the roster for this series.
Manager Joe Girardi has a couple of options, but one possibility would be to go with Eduardo Nunez for the open lineup spot. Nunez, an infielder by trade, has hit .298 and slugged .436 against lefties in his career.
Teixeira, who limped to the finish of the regular season, also gave the Yankees reason for optimism on Sunday. He collected two singles, a walk and an RBI.
That follows a 1-for-12 finish to the season. Those 12 at-bats were all Teixeira got to end the year after losing 30 games due to a calf injury.
Orioles: Chen on extra rest
Chen will be pitching on six days' rest when he takes the mound on Monday, and that's a good omen for the home team. He's been more effective on longer rest this season.
When pitching on five or more days' rest in 2012, Chen has 76 strikeouts against 26 walks, a 2.92 ratio, and he has a 3.64 ERA in those games. When pitching on four days' rest, he has a 4.39 ERA and a 2.52 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That may provide a counter to what has been a difficult matchup for him against the Yankees.
"I don't think the extra days or anything will confuse me or anything," Chen said through an interpreter on Sunday. "I just want to do my job and do my part and give everything out there and just pitch the ball."
The Orioles pride themselves on resilience. They have lost consecutive games just twice since mid-August.
"This is a very realistic club that lives in reality but they also understand the sense of urgency," Showalter said. "You can sit here and say you got beat by a real good quality pitcher tonight, but that's why teams like that are playing this time of year. We have good quality pitchers, too.
The Orioles' bullpen, a key part of the team's success in 2012, has a couple of added pieces for this series. Joe Saunders and Chris Tillman, who contributed quite a bit as starters down the stretch, are both available in relief for the early part of the series. Either Saunders or Tillman could be considered for a potential Game 4 start if the series goes that far.
Orioles Shortstop J.J. Hardy is 1-for-17 lifetime against Pettitte, with a triple for his only hit.
Chen allowed six homers in four starts spanning 24 innings against the Yankees this year.
The Yankees hit 78 homers against lefties this year, 16 more than any other AL team. The Orioles, who finished second to New York in homers in the AL overall, were eighth in homers against lefties with 51.