It took 29 years for the Orioles to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in Baltimore. Rather than receive a championship trophy and a parade downtown, they settled for a return to .500 and a long-awaited win for their beleaguered starting pitcher.
A clock can only be turned back so far.
Left-hander Brian Burres settled down after falling behind by five runs, retiring 10 of the final 11 batters he faced, and Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora delivered clutch hits in the sixth inning to complete a rally that gave the Orioles a 9-6 victory over the Pirates before an announced 47,305 at Camden Yards.
Down 6-1 after the third inning, the Orioles stormed back against Pirates starter Phil Dumatrait and reliever Franquelis Osoria. Dumatrait allowed one run in the fourth and three in the fifth, and Roberts' single in the sixth off Osoria scored Ramon Hernandez to wipe out the remaining deficit. Adam Jones came home on Mora's two-out single, and the Orioles' bullpen made the lead hold up.
"We don't quit," said Hernandez, who walked twice and had an RBI double. "Everyone in the lineup gets good at-bats. We get a leadoff walk, we get a single and, before you know it, you've got first and third and we've got an inning going. Every game, we never lay down. We just keep pushing."
Luke Scott added his 11th home run in the seventh - his fourth since Sunday - as the Orioles (33-33) made a triumphant return before a sellout crowd.
"It just felt great for our guys to come back the way they did, especially in front of a crowd like was here tonight," manager Dave Trembley said. "It was a big game for us."
Burres (5-5) has allowed 24 runs in his past four starts covering 18 innings, but he won last night for the first time since May 17. He faced 16 batters over the second and third innings before finding his rhythm and lasting through the sixth.
"I just started really attacking the zone a little better," he said. "I was falling behind a lot in those first couple of innings, but I started getting ahead."
The Orioles returned from a 5-4 road trip and were greeted by an unfamiliar opponent. The Pirates hadn't come to Baltimore since clinching Game 7 of the 1979 World Series at Memorial Stadium, which led to last night's nostalgic promotion, complete with the Orioles wearing replica uniforms.
They'd probably like to rewind the first inning, when they loaded the bases with no outs and scored only once, on Aubrey Huff's double-play grounder. Meanwhile, Burres cruised through the first inning on only eight pitches, but he threw 35 in the second and surrendered two runs on Jack Wilson's bases-loaded single.
The Pirates scored four runs in the third inning, the final three coming on Jason Michaels' third homer of the season. They sent eight batters to the plate for the second consecutive inning.
"When he got ahead of guys, he couldn't locate his pitches and put them away," Hernandez said of Burres. "But the last three innings were tremendous. He got his stuff together."
The Orioles whittled the Pirates' lead to 6-5 in the fifth, with Kevin Millar singling in two runs while playing on a badly bruised left knee.