Orioles third baseman Manny Machado received a standing ovation upon his season debut Thursday night at Camden Yards, but it was the team’s veteran stars who brought them back from a 4-0 deficit for a 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Catcher Matt Wieters led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a walk-off home run down the right-field line to give the Orioles a doubleheader and series sweep early Friday morning before what remained of an announced 28,290 at Camden Yards.
Wieters had a pair of hits and two RBIs in the win, outfielder Nick Markakis hit his second home run in as many games in a two-hit performance, and Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz and J.J. Hardy had two hits apiece in the victory.
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Machado, in his first game back after injuring his knee last September, grounded out four times during an 0-for-5 night.
The comeback seemed unlikely with Pirates rookie Brandon Cumpton shutting down the Orioles early, and Chris Tillman, pitching for the first time in a week, laboring.
While Pittsburgh didn’t square Tillman up until late in his outing, their balls in play found patches of grass where Orioles fielders were not. Ike Davis’ first-inning, one-out double, a ground ball to left field through the shift that died in the grass before David Lough could gather it, was the only extra-base hit they mustered until the fifth inning.
But Tillman issued three walks in an interminable 49-pitch first inning. Pirates hitters fought off fastballs, looked off his breaking pitches and pushed across two runs on bases-loaded walks to stake an early lead.
Cruz and Jones hit back-to-back singles to give the Orioles their first hits of the nightcap in the fourth inning, and Wieters advanced the pair to second and third with a sacrifice fly, but Game 1 hero Steve Pearce struck out on a slider to end the frame.
By then, Tillman had settled into something of a groove, with six strikeouts through four innings. But after quelling the Orioles’ first would-be rally, the Pirates padded their lead.
Andrew McCutchen, who doubled down the left-field line with one out in the fifth, scored on a triple by Gaby Sanchez off the right-field wall. The triple spelled the end of Tillman’s night, and he left charged with three earned runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. Evan Meek got the Orioles out of the fifth, but the Pirates added a fourth run off Meek in the form of a sixth-inning, RBI single by Davis.
Cumpton, making his second start of the season and seventh of his career, cruised through five innings with his lively fastball-slider combination.
The Orioles had three hits through five innings against the 25-year-old right-hander, but as Cumpton’s pitch count crept up, the home team capitalized. A leadoff line drive to left field by Markakis sliced just far enough from a charging Starling Marte that it fell for a single. Machado and Cruz grounded out to short to dampen hopes of a rally, but with two outs, the heart of the Orioles lineup delivered.
Markakis scored on a double by Jones off the glove of right fielder Travis Snider, and Jones scored on Wieters' single the following batter. A double by Pearce put runners on second and third for Hardy, who singled to left field to score Wieters and Pearce for a 4-4 tie.
Troy Patton, making his 2014 debut, put two men on in the top of the seventh, and Marte drove a single over a leaping Schoop at second to give Pittsburgh a 5-4 lead. In the next frame, Markakis answered with a solo blast to right-center field that leveled the score at 5.
Brian Matusz and Darren O’Day, both making their second appearances of the day, combined for a scoreless eighth inning. O'Day pitched into the 10th and allowed just one base runner before giving way to Tommy Hunter.
Hunter, who earned the save in the 5-1 Game 1 win, picked up the victory after recording two outs in the bottom of the 10th.