Orioles outlast rain, Twins to win dramatic opener
- Baltimore's Matt Wieters singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning.
- Because of rain delays, a game that was scheduled to start at 3:05 p.m. finally ended at 8:44.
- Baltimore has won 13 of its last 16 openers, including six straight.
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles had already endured two rain delays, blown a two-run lead and used six pitchers.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth inning in a tie game, it was time to put a memorable ending on a very long day.
Matt Wieters singled with two outs to score the winning run, sparking a celebration on the field and in the stands following a 3-2 season-opening victory over the Minnesota Twins.
"A lot of people, most of all our fans, have put a lot of time and effort into making this a special day," manager Buck Showalter said. "And we didn't want to let them down."
A game that was scheduled to start at 3:05 p.m. finally ended at 8:44, even though the playing time was only 2 hours, 48 minutes.
With the score tied at 2, Chris Davis drew a two-out walk from Kevin Jepsen (0-1). After newcomer Mark Trumbo followed with his fourth single, Wieters lined a single up the middle.
"It was a nice win," said Wieters, a career .388 hitter with runners on third and two outs. "You want to win the first one, but to be able to sit around here as much as we did today, it's a lot better feeling going home with a win."
Zach Britton (1-0) worked a perfect ninth. Baltimore has won 13 of its last 16 openers, including six straight.
"I think the fans really appreciated that game," said center fielder Adam Jones, who pushed a cake into Wieters' face while the catcher was doing a postgame interview.
Minnesota hasn't won on opening day since 2008.
"A tough day. It was a long day," manager Paul Molitor said.
Immediately following pregame festivities that included the ceremonial first pitch by ex-Oriole Rick Dempsey, the grounds crew unfurled the tarp and covered the field in anticipation of rain. A shower finally did materialize, and the game started after a delay of 1 hour, 41 minutes.
Two innings later, the tarp was back on the field. When play resumed after a stoppage of 70 minutes, both starting pitchers and nearly half the sellout crowd of 45,785 had departed.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman retired all six batters he faced — striking out the last five — before the second rain delay ended his third consecutive opening day start.
Ervin Santana also threw two scoreless innings for Twins, allowing two hits and two walks in his first opening day assignment.
"Ervin had to wiggle out of a couple of jams in the first couple of innings he put zeros up there. Tillman, I don't know if I've ever seen him quite as sharp," Molitor said. "You don't want to imagine that scenario coming out of camp, but that's the way it went today."
Baltimore's power-laden lineup produced its first runs of the season with a fifth-inning uprising started by a Rule 5 draftee making his major league debut. Joey Rickard led off with a double off Casey Fien, Manny Machado singled and both scored on a double by Jones.
Minnesota tied it in the seventh. Eddie Rosario beat the shift with an opposite-field double to left, Byung Ho Park was hit by a pitch and Eduardo Escobar followed with an RBI single, sending Park to third.
Kurt Suzuki then lifted a foul fly to left. Rickard opted to catch the ball, enabling Park to tag up and score the tying run.
Twins: Park batted sixth as the DH in his major league debut. He spent the previous nine years playing in South Korea,
Orioles: Hyun Soo Kim heard a mixture of cheers and jeers during pregame introductions. A former standout in South Korea, Kim exercised his right to decline a minor league assignment Sunday and spent his first day in the majors watching from the dugout.
Orioles: Baltimore started the season with three players on the DL: RHP Kevin Gausman (shoulder), LHP Brian Matusz (rib cage) and INF Jimmy Parades (sprained wrist).
Twins: Kyle Gibson will make his 74th career start Wednesday night in the second game of the series.
Orioles: Right-hander Yovani Gallardo makes his Orioles debut on Wednesday night.