BALTIMORE (AP)—A wacky game featuring nine home runs, 12 pitchers and a 67-minute rain delay was ultimately decided when the Baltimore Orioles mounted one final rally shortly after midnight.
Baltimore came back after being down 4-0 and 8-4, then rebounded in the 11th after New York again took the lead.
“This is a big one, because you have two four-run deficits that you really don’t ever come back from, then you get down in the 11th,” said Kevin Millar, who homered twice. “You don’t want to make a living out of it, but this was probably the biggest Oriole win I’ve seen as far as just a full team effort.”
After New York took a 9-8 lead in the 11th against Matt Albers (3-1) on an RBI single by Hideki Matsui, Melvin Mora led off the bottom half with a single off LaTroy Hawkins. One out later, Huff doubled and took third as Mora beat the throw to the plate.
Hawkins (1-1) then issued two intentional walks before Cintron hit a fly ball to right over the drawn-in outfield.
“I thought, ‘He’s in trouble. Whatever he throws me, I’m going to hit it,”’ Cintron said. “In my mind, I was ready to swing, first pitch, either a curveball, breaking ball or fastball.”
It was a fastball, the last of 336 pitches during a long, drawn-out game.
“The guys, they played their butt off tonight. I came in and let it go just like that, just like that,” Hawkins said. “I usually don’t get too upset, but a game like this…”
But the mistake-prone Yankees made three errors, including two poor throws by Rodriguez from third base, and Derek Jeter was picked off second base. And, of course, there was the matter of the blown leads.
“We had, what, up 4-0 and 8-4. And they came back?” Jeter said. “We’re in pretty good position there three times, but they swung the bats well.”
“That’s the best game that I’ve ever been a part of,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. “I’ll replay this one for a long time.”
Damon led off the ninth with his fourth hit, a double off George Sherrill. Jeter then stepped to the plate as a steady downpour began. After Jeter failed to lay down a bunt, he struck out swinging. Abreu then took a third strike, and Rodriguez received an intentional walk.
Both runners moved up on a double steal before the rain intensified. Yankees manager Joe Girardi went out to talk to home plate umpire Doug Eddings, pleading for a stoppage in play, before Matsui lined out to first.
“I thought it was raining too hard,” Girardi said.
Play was halted for 1 hour, 7 minutes before the bottom half started.
Yankees starter Ian Kennedy left after three innings with a slightly strained muscle near his right rib cage. He gave up four runs, three earned, and two home runs.
Afterward, Girardi said Kennedy would almost certainly be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
New York used a four-run fourth to go up 8-4. After Burres got two quick outs, Damon doubled and scored on a single by Jeter. Abreu then homered to right, and Rodriguez followed with his seventh home run of the season to chase Burres.
On an ordinary night, that would have been enough to win. But Baltimore rallied against Ross Ohlendorf in the fifth, using a two-run drive by Mora and successive solo shots by Scott and Millar to tie it at 8.
Baltimore missed a chance to take the lead in the seventh when Abreu threw out Millar trying to score on a two-out single to right by Hernandez. The play enabled Yankees reliever Edwar Ramirez to keep his 0.00 ERA intact.
Giambi got the Yankees started in the second inning with his 10th home run, the 41st in the 17-year history of Camden Yards to reach Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard. Giambi hit No. 38 in September 2005. It was also the first extra-base hit allowed by Burres this season.
The second would come four batters later, when Damon homered with two on to put New York ahead 4-0.
Baltimore tied it in the bottom half. Millar hit the 150th home run of his career, a two-run shot, and Hernandez followed with his fourth homer of the season. Adam Jones then singled and scored on a two-out throwing error by Rodriguez.
Jeter’s fourth-inning single snapped a 1-for-24 skid. He played in his 1,881st game with New York, tying Roy White for sixth on the Yankees’ career list. … Millar’s last two-homer game was in April 2006 vs. Tampa Bay. … Baltimore twice hit consecutive homers after going 50 games without doing it once.