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.
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.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun