Orioles 4, Twins 1, 6 innings
Orioles wait it out for win
Team weathers four rain delays, prevails in shortened game called in sixth
Luke Scott, who went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, is greeted by Gregg Zaun after hitting a solo home run in the fourth. (Baltimore Sun photo / May 6, 2009)
They didn't know they'd actually need an ark by the end of the night.
Surviving four rain delays of nearly four hours total, the Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-1, in a game that was finally, mercifully called in the top of the sixth with two outs and one on when another pocket of storms hit.
Roughly 50 of the announced crowd of 10,566 fans stuck around for the official announcement.
The game was delayed 42 minutes before the first pitch, 40 more minutes with one out in the bottom of the second, again for an hour and 27 minutes with two strikes thrown in the top of the fourth and a final delay of 57 minutes before the game was officially called.
If it had ended in the fourth with the Orioles leading 3-1 — which looked like a distinct possibility — the game would have been started again Thursday afternoon with none of the statistics counting.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire thought it never should have been played. Period.
"We never had a window all night long. All you have to do is look at the radar and you see it's supposed to rain all night long," an angry Gardenhire said. "Once we stopped the first time, we should never have gone right back out there. There was never more than a 15-minute window to do anything. It stopped raining, [then] started raining hard again.
"That's a joke."
Umpire crew chief Randy Marsh said the fits and starts is the only way it could have been played.
"Every time that we started, it had stopped raining," Marsh said. "I can't justify just sitting back here and waiting for it to start raining again, so you get the game in in bits and pieces. As much as I was trying to get the game in, I also wanted to wait at least an hour to let the Twins get another at-bat [at the end]. It just wasn't going to happen."
Marsh said the fact that this was the Twins' only trip in to Baltimore did not play into his decision making.
"I didn't even think about it," he said. "It could always be made up another time if it had to."
So in an early season that has been dismal for the Orioles (11-17), they caught a break — or a window of arguably playable weather anyway.
"I lost track of the time. There were so many scenarios going through my head tonight, because I thought you had to almost play the game instead of nine innings [like] it was a five-inning game," Trembley said. "After the first delay, Randy Marsh told me we are going to be here for a while."
Gardenhire also was angered that the game was destined for five innings.
"I think once we got going, we tried to play five innings, and Major League Baseball is nine innings," Gardenhire said. "We didn't get a chance to do that because the weather showed from the get-go that we shouldn't have been doing this. From the get-go, it said that all night long, and somebody made a mistake here and screwed up. And I don't know who is supposed to be accountable for this [junk], but my team ends up paying the final price here because we lose a baseball game."
Resuming in the top of the fourth at 10:44 p.m., the Orioles and Twins played for another 38 minutes, long enough for the clubs to get through the four and a half innings needed to make the game official.
Brian Bass (1-1) picked up his first win of the season with 2 2/3 innings of relief. Entering in the fourth with an 0-2 count to Matt Tolbert that was set up by starter Mark Hendrickson, Bass completed the strikeout. Technically, it took two pitchers and 41 minutes to strike out Tolbert, who was recalled from the minors Wednesday.