- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 19, 2001


With a 6-4 loss to Texas in the first half of a scheduled day-night doubleheader already complete, the Orioles were about 90 minutes from taking the field again only to be told the stadium was being evacuated.

A 60-car freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed inside a downtown Baltimore tunnel less than one mile from Camden Yards, sending heavy black smoke into the area around the ballpark. Players from both teams, stadium personnel and media members were told to evacuate the stadium, which had not yet reopened its gates to fans.

The postponed game will be made up as part of another day-night doubleheader today beginning at 1:05 p.m. Tonight’s originally scheduled game against the Rangers will be played at 7:05.

The train wreck occurred sometime after 3 p.m., in the late stages of Baltimore’s afternoon loss, its fourth straight and 11th in its last 13 games. Shortly after 5 p.m., smoke could be seen billowing out of the tunnel’s south entrance near one end of the B&O Warehouse. About 30 minutes later, the stadium and warehouse, which houses team offices, were evacuated.

Carrying hazardous materials, including hydrochloric acid, the train was en route from North Carolina to New Jersey when it derailed, officials said. Two firefighters were hospitalized with chest pains.

The sudden evacuation provided a bizarre end to what was expected to be a long day of baseball for the two teams, who were trying to make up for a May 26 rainout at Camden Yards. Instead, players and coaching staff members joined ushers, vendors, security officers and media members in trying to get to their cars and get out of the area despite numerous road closures and traffic jams.

Given their recent efforts, the Orioles were fortunate not to have to play another game. Having already lost the opener to the Rangers, Baltimore was in danger of dropping 13 games under .500 after entering last week’s All-Star break on a high note.

Texas handed the Orioles their fourth straight loss by pounding rookie starting pitcher Sean Douglass, who lasted just 3? innings in his major-league debut. Douglass, a 22-year-old right-hander, was aware he was being called up from Class AAA Rochester only because Baltimore needed a spot starter for yesterday’s first game. In the midst of a stretch of 19 games in 18 days, the Orioles had no available starters on their major-league roster.

His first career start was not memorable. The potent Rangers scored a run in the first inning, three more in the second and added two in the fourth. By the time manager Mike Hargrove summoned reliever Calvin Maduro, Douglass had surrendered six runs, nine hits and three walks, and had thrown a whopping 92 pitches in less than four innings.

“He is a young guy that was obviously a little nervous,” Hargrove said. “He got behind some hitters and got the ball up. You can’t make those kind of pitches against that lineup and escape unscathed.”

Douglass, who was optioned back to Rochester after the game with right-handed reliever Jorge Julio being recalled in his place, said he learned a few things from his debut and will take some positives from the performance, such as the third-inning jam he pitched out of by retiring three straight batters with runners on second and third.

“I felt good about the way I did, even though the numbers weren’t good,” Douglass said. “It’s a load off my shoulders, getting the first one out of the way. I’ll be back.”

Maduro kept the Orioles in the game with 5!= innings of scoreless relief, but his teammates could not rally against Rangers starter Rick Helling (7-8) and relievers Mike Venafro and Jeff Zimmerman.

Jeff Conine launched a solo home run to center field to lead off the bottom of the second for Baltimore, which added two more runs in the fourth on Jay Gibbons’ groundout and Tony Batista’s homer to left field.

Helling held the Orioles scoreless until the seventh, when Batista scored on an infield single by Fernando Lunar, then gave way to Venafro in the eighth. Zimmerman retired the side in the bottom of the ninth, getting Cal Ripken to fly out in his second pinch-hitting appearance in six days to end the game and notch his 15th save.

* The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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