The night had already been shaping up as a trying one when Chris Ray's full-count slider hung right over the plate, just where Andy Marte wanted it.
After a rain - or perhaps more appropriately - a drain delay of one hour, 37 minutes, the Orioles' misery was extended and their one-run lead was gone in less than an inning. Ray, who had given up a run in just one of his past 15 outings, served up a three-run homer to Marte in the Cleveland Indians' 5-3 victory over the Orioles in front of an announced 24,358 at wet Camden Yards.
It was just Marte's third homer of the season, but his second game-winning shot against the Orioles in a three-night span. The Orioles (54-76) will now have to win this afternoon to salvage a four-game split against the Indians (58-71).
Despite an impressive return by center fielder Adam Jones, who made two great catches, including one over the wall in center field to take away a homer from Shin-Soo Choo in the ninth inning, the Orioles fell to 13-29 since the All-Star break. Seventeen of their past 28 losses have been by two runs or less. But none of them have played out quite like last night, when the final pitch of the game was thrown shortly before midnight..
The game was stopped after Cesar Izturis' two-out RBI triple gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Over an inch of rain fell in 20 minutes, according to Orioles officials, and that resulted in both dugouts flooding to the top step.
It had stopped raining after less than a half-hour, but the flooded dugouts caused a longer delay than Orioles officials had hoped. Orioles director of communications Greg Bader said the drain pumps in the dugouts weren't functioning as "properly as they should have been," making the water backup even harder to correct. The water eventually was funneled to the tunnels in both clubhouses.
The game resumed at 10:24 p.m., and Indians reliever Rafael Perez quickly retired Jones on a comebacker to strand Izturis at third base.
Ray got the first batter of the sixth, Jhonny Peralta, who earlier hit a solo homer off Orioles starter Chris Tillman - the Indians' lone run to that point - on a strikeout. But Luis Valbuena singled to right and Matt LaPorta followed with a single to left. Ray got ahead of Marte, but couldn't put him away and watched the ill-fated slider get pounded into the left-field seats. That cost Tillman, who allowed one run and six hits over five uneven innings, his second big league victory.
Jim Johnson could relate to Ray. He gave up a two-run game-winning shot to Marte in the ninth inning of Thursday's series opener.
Orioles catcher Chad Moeller cut the deficit to 4-3 with a solo homer off Joe Smith with two outs in the seventh. But the Indians added another on in the eighth against Brian Bass. The Orioles, who hit into three double plays, got the tying run to the plate in the ninth in the form of pinch hitter Luke Scott, but Indians reliever Chris Perez got him to fly out to end the game.
Jones returned to the lineup after missing five straight games with a sore back and wasted no time in making his presence felt.
In the top of the first inning, Asdrubal Cabrera, the Indians' No. 2 batter, hit a drive to the left-center wall. Jones measured the ball and made a leaping catch, his glove hauling it in at the top of the wall.
The sight of the All-Star center fielder slamming into the wall was not exactly what Orioles manager Dave Trembley wanted to see in Jones' first game back. But Jones blew one of his trademark bubbles and flashed a smile, indicating that he was feeling just fine.
In the bottom of the inning, Jones fell behind Indians left-hander Jeremy Sowers 1-2, but got back in the count, stayed off some tough pitches and worked a nine-pitch walk. Nick Markakis followed by driving a double over the head of Cleveland right fielder Chris Gimenez, who didn't get a good break on the ball.
Jones scored from first with ease and Markakis had his 41st double and 89th RBI of the season. Markakis was supposed to get the day off, but the uncertainty surrounding the health of Jones and Felix Pie (tight left hamstring) changed Trembley's plans.
Tillman, struggling to get balls down in the zone early, gave up consecutive two-out singles in the second to LaPorta and Marte. But catcher Kelly Shoppach stranded both by hitting a sinking liner that was caught by Markakis in right field.
Tillman left another base runner stranded in the third by fanning Choo. However, he finally paid for a mistake in the fourth when Indians cleanup hitter Peralta connected for a solo homer. Tillman elevated a 3-2 fastball and Peralta pounded it in the left-field seats. It was the sixth time in his seven big league outings in which Tillman had allowed at least one home run.
Cleveland got two more base runners in the fourth before Tillman struck out Gimenez to end the inning.
The Orioles took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. First baseman Ty Wigginton led off with a single and moved to second on Moeller's sacrifice bunt. With the rain starting to come down harder, Izturis hit a two-out triple to the right-center field gap to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Not long after Izturis pulled into third, crew chief Tim Tschida called for the tarp to be applied to the field.
Today, 1:35 p.m.
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