Photo: American League Wild Card chase – Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles.

"Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon celebrates after recording the final out of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday, September 27, 2011 in Baltimore. With the 8-7 victory, the Boston remained even with the Tampa Bay Rays atop the American League Wild Card Standings with one regular season game remaining."

I’m still trying to accept the fact that the most important games in baseball, or perhaps in all of sports right now, are being played in Baltimore. Last night, the American League Wild Card race continued at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the Boston Red Sox held on to an early lead to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 8-7 and remain tied with the Tampa Bay Rays atop the Wild Card standings. 

This race is so close that it’s literally going to come down to tonight’s game, the 162nd and last of the season. It could even require an extra one-game playoff to decide the winner. 

I shot lots of good action from the game last night, but decided to only post this photo of Papelbon celebrating a Red Sox victory, as that’s the main story line right now. I don’t want to post too much until this series is over and we’re able to see where everything stands. Regardless, this is the closest thing to playoff baseball Baltimore has seen in awhile (even though it’s not for the home team), and I loved the energy out there last night. 

Tonight should be more of the same. ESPN is in town to broadcast the game, the phones are ringing off the hook here, and the photo pits will be packed. So, here’s to my last game of the season (maybe)!

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Monday, September 26, 2011 vs. Boston Red Sox

"Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero tips his helmet to the crowd after hitting a single in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Monday, September 26, 2011 in Baltimore. This was his 2,587th career hit, moving him past Julio Franco as the all-time leader in hits by a Dominican-born player."

"Baltimore Orioles outfielders (L-R) Matt Angle, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis, celebrate a victory over the Boston Red Sox Monday, September 26, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Baltimore Orioles second baseman Robert Andino reacts after receiving a shaving cream pie to the face after defeating the Boston Red Sox Monday, September 26, 2011 in Baltimore."

We’ve reached the last three games of the 2011 regular season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This is always a busy week around the stadium, but there’s a particular buzz in the air this time around. The American League Wild Card chase is on, and the Boston Red Sox, in the midst of an historic end-of-season collapse, play their final three games in Baltimore. This year’s playoff scenarios are coming down to the wire, and I’m pumped at the possibility of them being decided in Baltimore. 

The Sox were unable to beat the O’s last night, moving them into a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL Wild Card spot. I’ve got lots of good photos from last night, but I want to be careful about what I post, as there’s still lots of baseball left to be played. 

Last night’s game had a bit of everything: Playoff implications, a Dominican baseball record broken, a drunken fan running across the field, an inside the park home run, and a pie in the face, to mention a few.

This game’s “Thing I Learned:” Last night’s lesson will carry over for the entire week. Big time games call for big time photos! I shoot better pictures when there’s something at stake. I like the added pressure. 

Time for game two!