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O's notch rain-shortened victory

O's notch rain-shortened victory

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BALTIMORE -- Delay, delay, delay, delay.

The Orioles and Twins fought through a waterlogged game that featured four rain delays and nearly four hours of time lost Wednesday before squeezing out a result. The two teams spent more than twice as much time in the clubhouse as they did on the field before the Orioles were granted an abbreviated 4-1 win.

"We were going to do whatever we could to get the game in," said crew chief Randy Marsh, who called the game in the sixth inning. "Every time that we started, it had stopped raining. I can't justify just sitting back here and waiting for it to start raining again, so you get the game in in bits and pieces. As much as I was trying to get the game in, I also wanted to wait at least an hour to let the Twins get another at-bat. It just wasn't going to happen."

The delays started before the game did, with the original first pitch pushed back 42 minutes because of the rain. The two teams managed to make it into the bottom of the second before the next delay came, and after a 40-minute break, they played into the fourth inning before the field conditions became unplayable.

The umpires waited an hour and 27 minutes before reconvening on the field for the final time. Baltimore and Minnesota managed to get into the sixth with the extra life, but then got waylaid by heavy rains and a 57-minute delay before the game was called.

"Number one, this last one was a downpour," said Marsh, enumerating his reasons to end the night early. "And the radar was backed up several hours. It was not going to clear. If I thought we had a chance to wait again, I would've waited. It's a regular-season ballgame, and I wanted everyone to get a chance."

Both managers were informed of the conditions and the weather report before the game, but they had different reactions to the way things played out on the field in front of them.

"I thought we almost had to play the game like -- instead of nine innings -- a five-inning game," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. "And after the first delay, Randy Marsh told me, 'We're going to be here for a while.' That was kind of a clue that they were going to do what they had to do to try to get the game in."

"The game should have never started in the first place," countered Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. "We never had a window all night long. All you have to do is look at the radar, and you see it's supposed to rain all night long. Once we stopped the first time, we should never have gone right back out there. There was never more than a 15-minute window to do anything. It stopped raining, starting raining hard again."

And the weather started early, but so did the difference on the scoreboard. Minnesota (13-15) went down in order in the top of the first against Baltimore starter Mark Hendrickson, and the Orioles pushed ahead on a two-run home run by Nick Markakis. Luke Scott added an RBI single before the first inning ended.

Baltimore (11-17) had men on base in the second inning when the second delay came, but the home team wasn't able to push anyone home when the game resumed. The third inning passed without incident, and Hendrickson threw two pitches in the fourth before the heaviest rain of the night caused another stoppage.

"After the first one, I felt pretty good coming back out, but the second one was just too long," Hendrickson said. "With baseball, you expect it. Mentally, you have to be focused, because at anytime you can go back out there. I think it just becomes a little frustrating after a while and you do it a couple times. But the most important part is we got the game in. I think that was something that everybody wanted to do. And we got a win."

The two teams wouldn't see the field again for nearly 90 minutes, and much of the crowd left due to the hostile conditions. Both teams scored after that cessation -- Baltimore on a home run by Scott and Minnesota on a fielder's choice -- before the game was halted in the top of the sixth due to a steady downpour.

The Twins aren't scheduled to make another trip to Baltimore this year, but Marsh said that didn't really play into his decision. The two teams will convene again Thursday night, but if Wednesday's series opener hadn't reached the point of being official, they would've had to play a doubleheader instead.

"When they sent us back out there and it became an official game," said Baltimore catcher Gregg Zaun, "we were like, 'OK, here we go.' That's why we hung around here, hoping to get a window or two so we could get an official game. But then we had to sit around for another hour after that.

"By the time we came in here for the third time, we were like, 'OK, can we just go home?'"

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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