- Associated Press - Monday, April 4, 2016

BALTIMORE (AP) - Paul Molitor needed only eight words to sum up opening day for the Minnesota Twins.

“A tough day,” the manager said. “It was a long day.”

The Twins had to endure two long rain delays, went through six pitchers and wasted a comeback Monday in a 3-2 season-opening loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

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 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Chris Davis drew a two-out walk from Kevin Jepsen (0-1). After newcomer Mark Trumbo followed with his fourth single, Matt Wieters lined a single up the middle to end it.

After taking what seemed like forever to get to the ninth inning, the Twins lost in an instant.

“It happened quickly, as it does in those types of games,” Molitor said. “A five-pitch walk and two pitches later you’re walking off the field.”

Zach Britton (1-0) worked a perfect ninth for the Orioles, who have won 13 of their 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 his postgame interview.

Minnesota hasn’t won on opening day since 2008.

“It was a tough day from the beginning to the end,” starter Ervin Santana 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.

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.

KOREAN CONNECTION

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.

TRAINER’S ROOM

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).

UP NEXT

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.


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