For 27 minutes yesterday, an opportunity dangled in front of the Orioles but couldn't be touched. A chance to tie their game against the Washington Nationals was put on hold, a second rain delay interrupting play, and all they could do was wait.
If timing is everything, the weather did nothing for them.
Down by two runs before the skies opened again, the Orioles cut their deficit in half but didn't get any closer. And a four-game winning streak, along with a productive homestand, ended with a 2-1 loss to the Nationals before an announced 33,745 at Camden Yards.
Aubrey Huff singled with two outs in the ninth to bring the winning run to the plate, but Jay Payton popped up after falling behind 0-2 to Nationals reliever Jon Rauch, and the Orioles (23-20) fell to 1-6 on Sundays this season.
"We gave ourselves a chance. We continue to do that," manager Dave Trembley said. "It didn't work out for ourselves today, but I've got no problem with the approach. We were behind the entire week, every game, with the exception of jumping on them [Saturday]. I thought the guys just battled hard."
If only they could fend off the elements.
Brian Roberts lifted a sacrifice fly once play resumed in the eighth, with Adam Jones scoring after his leadoff single and a one-out, pinch-hit double by Luke Scott. Melvin Mora, batting .441 with runners in scoring position, lined out to right.
"You just have to go out and keep playing," Roberts said.
Said Payton: "If we could have kept going without the change, it might have benefited us. But that's just part of the game, unfortunately."
The Orioles have endured three postponements and a suspended game because of rain. They waited out a delay of 2 hours, 1 minute yesterday before the first pitch.
"I would think June, July and August are going to be smoking around here with a lot of sunshine and summertime weather," Trembley said. "Obviously, we've had our fair share of rain and cool, damp weather. It must be that the summer's going to be conducive to baseball all the time."
Trembley stayed in contact with crew chief Tim McClelland in the eighth inning so he could relay information to his players. The guys who were due to hit tried to stay loose.
"After sitting for two hours the first time, it [the second delay] only felt like five minutes," Roberts said.
"It's a long day," Payton said. "It [stinks]. Nobody wants to sit around for two hours and have another rain delay. But both teams deal with it."
The only run off Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie (2-4) through seven innings came in the third on Cristian Guzman's bases-empty homer. He allowed five hits, walked three and didn't record a strikeout.
"The actual pitch [to Guzman] was a pretty darned good pitch, and he did a nice job," Guthrie said. "I made a lot more mistakes than that that weren't hit out, but that happened to be the one that cost me a run."
The Nationals scored a run off reliever Chad Bradford in the eighth when Ryan Zimmerman hit an EBI double, and it proved especially important when the Orioles finally broke through against left-hander John Lannan (4-4) in the bottom half. Lannan, who allowed four hits, exited after Scott's double, and Roberts collected his RBI off Luis Ayala.
With the first part of the interleague schedule out of the way, the Orioles can shift their attention to teams in their own division. They will board a train for New York this afternoon, beginning a six-game road trip tomorrow that includes a stop in Tampa, Fla. Once they return home, the Yankees will be waiting for them, with the Boston Red Sox to follow.
"I wish we were playing [today], to be honest with you," Trembley said.
At least his outlook is firstname.lastname@example.org