BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A rough night for the Baltimore Orioles ended with a horrid 15th inning in which Mike Gonzalez hit a batter in the head, Jeremy Guthrie was thrust into a reliever’s role and rookie Brandon Snyder was called out for being struck by a batted ball.
It all added up to a 4-1 defeat to the New York Yankees on Wednesday.
“Our entire bullpen pitched well tonight,” Orioles closer Kevin Gregg said. “But unfortunately, things went awry in that last inning.”
After allowing a two-run double to Robinson Cano in the 15th, Gonzalez struck Chris Dickerson in the head with a fastball. Gonzalez was immediately ejected, and Dickerson remained motionless on the ground for several minutes.
After being helped to his feet, Dickerson — who had borrowed teammate Jorge Posada’s batting helmet after his was cracked by the pitch — walked to first base before leaving the game.
Dickerson was taken to a hospital for a CT scan.
“He was lucid and he knew where he was. He had a lump on his head,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You have to do everything precautionary now. We’re just making sure he’s OK. It’s standard operating procedure.”
Gonzalez insisted that the pitch was not thrown intentionally inside.
“No way, shape or form was I trying to hit Dickerson or anything like that,” he said. “In fact, I was trying to throw a fastball down and away. It got away from me and I’m sorry it hit him.”
Alex Rodriguez had a season-high four hits for the Yankees, whose only run before the 15th was an unearned tally in the fourth.
Mark Teixeira led off the 15th with a single off Jeremy Accardo (2-1). Rodriguez followed with a single, and Cano hit a liner to right-center that Adam Jones bobbled, allowing Cano to take third.
Gonzalez then hit Dickerson. With Baltimore out of relief pitchers, Guthrie — the scheduled starter for Thursday — came in and gave up a sacrifice fly to Brett Gardner.
New York’s Hector Noesi (1-0) worked four innings in his major league debut, allowing two hits and walking three.
In the bottom of the 15th, Baltimore got the first two batters on. But the uprising was short-circuited when Snyder was struck by a grounder off the bat of Matt Wieters, an automatic out.
“I tried to get out of the way and the ball just felt like it chased me,” Snyder said.
It was the longest game of the season for both teams, and the longest for the Orioles at home since a 17-inning affair against Philadelphia in 2003. The game lasted 4 hours, 56 minutes.
Baltimore loaded the bases with one out in the 11th against Luis Ayala before Boone Logan struck out Luke Scott and retired Wieters on a fly ball. Wieters was a major league-best 15 for 27 with runners in scoring position before the out.
Noesi worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 12th, and the Yankees failed to score against Accardo in the 13th after getting runners at the corners with no outs.
“We had a lot of people pitch well. You pitch that well, you’d like to take advantage of it,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I was real proud of our pitching tonight. It’s just frustrating because we had so many opportunities there to push that run across.”
New York starter Bartolo Colon pitched eight innings of three-hit ball and left with a 1-0 lead, but the usually reliable Rivera gave up a run in the ninth to force extra innings. It was his third blown save in 16 tries — the second against Baltimore.
Singles by Jones and Nick Markakis put runners at the corners with one out in the ninth before Vladimir Guerrero hit a sacrifice fly.
“We scored off Rivera there in the ninth inning and didn’t do much against Colon, that’s for sure,” Showalter said.
Colon struck out seven and walked one. The right-hander, who turns 38 next week, retired 13 straight at one point and ended his performance by striking out the side.
Baltimore starter Zach Britton went seven innings, allowing an unearned run, six hits and three walks. He has gone 19 1-3 consecutive innings without yielding an earned run, lowering his ERA to 2.14.
In the New York fourth, Rodriguez got a leadoff single and moved to second on a groundout. Orioles second baseman Robert Andino then failed to catch a pickoff throw from Britton, apparently the result of trying to apply the tag before securing the ball. Rodriguez took third, and Nick Swisher followed with a sacrifice fly.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)