The Orioles had been down this road before, the nightmare of being the only franchise besides the long-scattered Cleveland Spiders to have dropped almost half a month of games to end the season.
Hours after their boss said this lost year wasn't as bad as he expected it to be, the Orioles sidestepped infamy and broke a 10-game losing streak thanks to an unrelenting rain and a pitcher trying to make a splash.
Rookie Brian Bass pitched six strong innings, and the Orioles caught a break when their 2-1 game was called because of rain with a Toronto runner on second and nobody out in the top of the seventh and much of the announced crowd of 18,378 under cover.
It was the second time in two nights umpires ended the Orioles-Blue Jays game in the seventh because of a driving rainstorm.
Consider this one a soaked blessing from above.
"Mother Nature helped us, and Lord knows, we needed all the help we can get," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "We'll take it."
Before the game, club president Andy MacPhail said he would take 2008 as a whole, despite the late-season collapse, because he feels the organization is better set for the future.
"I would have thought the record would have taken a worse nose dive than it did, particularly for the first three-quarters of the season," MacPhail said in a 25-minute, pre-game state-of-the-Orioles address. "So, on balance, as unfortunate and ugly at times as this last 30 games or so have been, on balance it's been a good season."
The Orioles (68-92) play their final game today with little drama remaining. By winning yesterday, they guaranteed they would not join the 2002 Orioles and the 1899 Spiders as the only teams to lose at least a dozen games to end a season. The win also ended the Orioles' worst skid since 2004 and their streak of nine straight defeats in one-run games.
"It was a little mini-celebration before [the media] got in here," said Bass, who threw a career-high 77 pitches and lasted a career-long six innings after not getting out of the fifth in his first three big league starts.
On Monday, Bass allowed no hits but was pulled after 4 2/3 innings when he ran out of gas. Yesterday, he gave up three hits in the second inning - including a solo homer to Brad Wilkerson - but otherwise was perfect.
In his other five innings, Bass faced the minimum three Blue Jays each time. He struck out four, walked one and left with a 2-1 lead and a favorable final impression.
"It was good to go out and show them I can go more than five innings and I can pitch deeper into ballgames," Bass said.
He had to keep it close because the Orioles' piecemeal lineup couldn't put away Blue Jays left-hander John Parrish (1-1).
Without right fielder Nick Markakis, second baseman Brian Roberts and designated hitter Aubrey Huff - all of whom had the night off - the offensive heroics were left to an unlikely source. Light-hitting Brandon Fahey, who played second for Roberts, scored the Orioles' first run after doubling in the third and then hit the game-winning sacrifice fly in the fourth.
"I haven't really done anything for the team recently," Fahey said. "So it felt really good to help the team out."
And to get the monkey - and the Cleveland Spiders - off their back.
"It was only seven innings," Fahey said. "But it is still a win in the books."