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Before rain resumed, Joey Rickard's first hit highlights early Orioles firsts

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
In the 33 minutes of play between delays, Joey Rickard's first hit highlighted several Orioles firsts.

Between rain delays that have marred a lively Opening Day between the Orioles and Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards was enough baseball to get in one trip through the home team’s lineup, and plenty of milestones.

The last was probably the biggest of the day. Rule 5 outfielder Joey Rickard, who batted ninth and started in left field, lined an 0-2 slider from Twins starter Ervin Santana into center field in the second inning for his first major league hit on the afternoon of his big league debut.

Twins All-Star first baseman Joe Mauer congratulated a grinning Rickard at first base. The team saved the ball, with pitcher Mike Wright grabbing it in the dugout.

Earlier in the inning, designated hitter Pedro Alvarez reached base in his first at-bat with the team on a five-pitch walk.

And in the first inning, after a four-pitch walk by first baseman Chris Davis, new right fielder Mark Trumbo blooped a single just out of the reach of Twins second baseman Brian Dozier for his first hit with the team.

Davis went first to third on the hit, then Trumbo improbably recorded the first stolen base of the Orioles’ season before catcher Matt Wieters struck out looking to end a 10-pitch at-bat for the third out.

The Twins are still looking for their first everything of the 2016 season in the box score, save for their first strikeout.

Orioles starter Chris Tillman sat 94-95 mph with his fastball, and after coaxing a difficult pop-up to shortstop J.J. Hardy on the first pitch of the game, he struck out the next five batters he faced over the next two innings and had thrown just 22 pitches in two standout innings before the rain resumed.

First pitch: 4:46 p.m., after a 101-minute delay because of the threat of inclement weather.

First scary moment: When Hardy tracked down Dozier's game-opening pop-up, the wind blew the ball over left field and caused him to have to reach back and nearly fall over to catch the ball.

First hit: With two outs in the first inning, Trumbo had the honor of putting the first hit of the season in the Orioles' scorebook.

First moment of false hope: Orioles third baseman Manny Machado hit a line drive that nearly got over the head of Twins center fielder Byron Buxton, but was ultimately caught.

It was followed in the next inning by another false-hope fly that Hardy hit. It appeared to be going foul down the left-field line, then was carried by the wind to the warning track and blown well back into the field of play for an eventful flyout to left.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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