One of manager Dave Trembley's starting pitchers made it past the fifth inning last night, an occasion that should have brought the same champagne celebration that broke out after the Orioles' 1983 world championship. The timing would have seemed appropriate.
The showers that followed didn't come from a bottle.
Two batters into the sixth, Jeremy Guthrie had allowed the tie-breaking run as the Camden Yards grounds crew waited behind the tarp and the rain picked up in intensity. Umpires halted play with two outs, the Toronto Blue Jays' Lyle Overbay at third base and a 1-0 count on Scott Rolen.
The game was suspended with the Blue Jays ahead 2-1 - the second such occurrence for the Orioles this season - and will resume at noon today. The regularly scheduled game will follow 20 minutes after the final out.
Trembley, who still must choose a replacement for Guthrie, noted that the conditions were so bad, he wasn't able to inspect the field during the long delay.
"I couldn't get out there because the water was coming in our dugout so hard," he said.
Both teams wore throwback uniforms from the 1983 season, as the Orioles celebrated the 25th anniversary of their most recent world championship. The Blue Jays were dressed in powder blue from head to toe. The Orioles broke out the white-paneled caps and helmets with the cartoon bird adorning the front.
Ponchos would have been a nice touch.
Blue Jays starter A.J. Burnett began the night 6-1 in his career against the Orioles, but he allowed 15 runs in 9 2/3 innings over two starts this season. He struck out seven batters last night, including three of the last four he faced. Adam Jones went down swinging with two outs in the fifth after Brian Roberts doubled.
Three of the first six Orioles reached base against Burnett, but none of them scored. Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff singled with two outs in the first inning before Melvin Mora grounded out. And Luke Scott led off the second with a double off the left-field fence, but Burnett retired the next three hitters, striking out Brandon Fahey to strand the go-ahead run at third base.
"He had good stuff," Jones said. "We had better swings off him later."
The Orioles tied the score at 1 in the fourth inning when Huff led off with a triple to left-center field - his seventh since joining the Orioles last season, and the 17th of his career - and scored on Mora's infield hit. Shortstop John McDonald charged the ball and took four steps and a hop before finally throwing late to first.
Meanwhile, Guthrie's fastball was hitting 96 and 97 mph on the stadium's radar gun in the early innings. His pitch count rose to 53 through the third, and he trailed 1-0 after consecutive singles by the last two batters in the lineup, Adam Lind and McDonald, and Marco Scutaro's ground ball.
By the end of the fifth, Guthrie had thrown 80 pitches and the bullpen remained quiet. But with the weather turning ominous, Alex Rios singled, stole second and scored on Overbay's single to center field. Overbay took second on the throw and moved to third on Rod Barajas' grounder to short, but he held on Matt Stairs' grounder along the third base line, which could barely be seen through the downpour.
"The rain wasn't a factor," Guthrie said. "Line drives were a factor."
On a staff that's largely been unable to carry games into the late innings, Guthrie had gone at least six in 12 of his past 13 starts. He was poised to continue his personal trend. He just needed one more out.
"At least it's a start back in the right direction," Trembley said. "Guthrie was pitching very well and Burnett had everything going for him. It had the makings of a quality baseball game."
Then it stopped prematurely, leaving Guthrie to wonder whether he'll get a no-decision or a loss. And leaving the Orioles in a familiar predicament.
Their April 28th game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field was suspended in the 11th inning with the score tied at 3. They'll resume play Aug. 25.