Baltimore Orioles' Matt Wieters. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles could boast one of baseball's most powerful lineups this season, but they manufactured a run at the right time to start 2016 with a victory.
Matt Wieters lined a single to center with two outs in the bottom of the ninth that scored Chris Davis and gave the Baltimore Orioles a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on a long Opening Day Monday.
The Orioles will have several hitters in their lineup who could hit at least 20 homers this season, but they were more patient at the plate in this game, something they worked on throughout spring training. They were able to grind out the game-winning run in the ninth.
Davis began that rally with a two-out walk off of right-hander Kevin Jepsen (0-1). Mark Trumbo followed with his fourth hit of the game, a single to center, which moved Davis to third.
Wieters then lined his single to center on the first pitch, and the Orioles got their Opening Day victory. For the Baltimore catcher, it was career hit number 700.
"When you get to a bullpen with arms like that, if you can get something over the middle, you want to try and put a good swing on it," Wieters said. "It's nice to get a (win)."
The walk to Davis is what left Jepsen a bit frustrated after the game.
"Two-out walks tend to score," Jepsen said. "My mind-set all spring was not walking guys, and you can see right there that's why."
Baltimore closer Zach Britton (1-0) earned the victory after he retired the Twins in order in the top of the ninth.
Minnesota won all seven games with the Orioles last year and was working on an eight-game winning streak versus Baltimore.
The weather affected both teams and the crowd in this game.
There was a delay of one hour and 41 minutes before the start and another for one hour and 10 minutes after the second inning. The game was supposed to begin at 3:05 p.m. but did not end until 8:44 p.m. when the temperature started to drop and the wind really picked up.
"That was a long day at the park," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We all know how much people have sacrificed to get here, and we're trying to get the game in."
The skies cleared after the second delay, and the game began again at 6:29 p.m. That second delay forced both starting pitchers out of the game after each threw two scoreless innings.
Twins starter Ervin Santana battled out of trouble in each of the first two frames while Baltimore right-hander Chris Tillman retired all six batters he faced, striking out the final five.
Joey Rickard made his major-league debut in style for the Orioles, going 2-for-4 and scoring the game's first run. The left fielder singled in his first at-bat and doubled the next time up, scoring after that on Adam Jones' two-run double in the fifth.
Byung Ho Park also got his first major-league hit, doubling to lead off the third, but the Twins stranded the designated hitter.
Park later scored the second run -- which tied the game at two -- in Minnesota's two-run seventh. Eduardo Escobar's RBI double gave the Twins their first run before Park scored on a foul sacrifice fly from Kurt Suzuki.
The Orioles took the lead in the fifth against right-hander Casey Fien, Minnesota's third pitcher. Fien came on in that inning and quickly got into trouble, giving up a lead-off double to Rickard followed by a single to Manny Machado.
Jones then lined a two-run double to right-center that gave Baltimore a 2-0 lead. But Fien and left-hander Fernando Abad combined to escape more trouble, stranding runners at first and third. The Orioles left seven on base through those first five innings.
"It was way off-script for an Opening Day," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "You try to set things up the best you can, (but) they had the same scenario we did."
NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said RHP Kevin Gausman (right shoulder strain) will throw a 35-pitch bullpen session Tuesday. After that, he will go three innings and five. The team still expects him to come off the disabled list on April 19. ... Showalter also said LHP Brian Matusz (left intercostal strain) should be ready to come off the disabled list on April 10, as expected. ... The Twins' roster certainly has changed from Opening Day of 2015. Minnesota has 11 players on its 25-man roster that were not there when it opened last season. ... 1B Joe Mauer is made his 12th Opening Day start with the Twins. He is tied for second place in team history with Kent Hrbek and Rod Carew. Harmon Killebrew made 13 Opening Day starts.