A fan holds up a sign during the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 30, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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It was the longest ninth inning in more than a dozen years... Or, at least it felt that way. Orioles fans everywhere took to social media, praying for three outs -- three outs in a game in which the Orioles weren't even playing.
As Kendrys Morales hit a pop out to end the ninth inning in a game between the Angels and the Texas Rangers, cheers could be heard in Baltimore neighborhoods. Twitter and Facebook were immediately saturated with #omazing mentions of what was much more than an #ordinary season.
For the first time in 15 years, with the Rangers' 8-7 win over the Angels, the Orioles clinched a playoff appearance.
With the Angels' loss, the New York Yankees are also promised a playoff spot. Currently, the Yankees and the Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East.
The Orioles currently have three games left to play and have an overall record of 92-67.
Sunday was a day full of emotion for Orioles players and coaches. After sweeping the Red Sox, players, coaches and fans watched the final minutes of what was the first game of a double-header between the Rangers and Angels on the large screen on the scoreboard at Camden Yards. As the Angels came away with the 4-3 win, a clubhouse already prepped for a party and stocked with champagne was bypassed.
Sitting in front of his locker with a beer in his hand, first baseman Mark Reynolds said, "It would have definitely been cool to celebrate with our fans. They've been supporting us all year. To be able to celebrate out there with them and take in the moment, it would have been pretty neat."
A short time later, the team's plane bound for Tampa had to make an emergency landing in Jacksonville.
Michael Stewart, spokesman for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, told The Associated Press that the plane was inspected and deemed OK to fly. The Orioles resumed their trip on the same aircraft, leaving Jacksonville International Airport at 10:15 p.m.
" Small fire on our team flight to Tampa Bay," posted Ned Rice of the Orioles operations staff on his Facebook page. "They came on and told us we needed to make an emergency landing, and then we were nearly free falling for a few minutes as they raced to get us on the ground as fast as possible. Currently enjoying the beautiful Jacksonville, FL airport while the fire department inspects our plane. Hope this trip is worth it!"
Indeed, it was.
The Orioles have three games to play in Tampa during which outplaying the Yankees could earn them the pennant.
The Yankees finish the season in a three-game series against the Red Sox.
* The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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