Final in 13

Series: Game 1 of 3

Baltimore leads 1-0 (as of 3/31)

Game 1: Monday, March 31
Cleveland5Final
in 13
Baltimore6
Game 2: Wednesday, April 2
Cleveland4Final
Baltimore2
Game 3: Thursday, April 3
Cleveland3Final
Baltimore0

Indians 5

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Orioles 6

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    3:05 PM ET, March 31, 2003

    Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland 

    345678910111213 R H E
    CLE 30010000010 5 - -
    BAL 00010200011 6 - -

    W: B. Ryan (1-0)

    L: J. Westbrook (0-1)

    Matthews Jr. singles home winning run in 13th

    BALTIMORE (AP) -- As the fly ball disappeared in the falling snow, Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jerry Hairston had just one thought as he ran toward right field.

    Rodrigo Lopez

    The passing snowstorm didn't help Rodrigo Lopez and the Orioles in the third inning.

    "I had no idea where the ball was,'' Hairston said. "So I was like, 'I hope it doesn't hit me in the head.'''

    It was a strange Opening Day at Camden Yards, even before the fly ball hit by Ellis Burks vanished from view Monday. But all turned out well for the Orioles on a frigid afternoon better suited for snowballs than fastballs.

    Gary Matthews Jr. singled home the winning run with two outs in the 13th inning, giving Baltimore a 6-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

    Opening Day in Baltimore is usually a festive occasion held in a packed stadium. Although the crowd was announced at 46,257 -- a sellout -- there were thousands of empty seats in the upper deck.

    By the end of the game, only a few thousand fans remained.

    Prior to the first pitch, a video tribute and a moment of silence were held for former Orioles pitcher Dave McNally, who died over the winter, and pitching prospect Steve Bechler, who died of heatstroke at spring training in February.

    Cleveland scored three runs in the third inning with the aid of a routine fly ball that got lost between the huge snowflakes that swirled around the stadium.

    "I couldn't even see the hitter, that's how bad it was,'' Orioles right fielder Jay Gibbons said. "I heard him hit it, and that was about it. I saw the umpire looking at me; I think he was waiting for me to make a move. That was crazy.''

    After Gibbons threw the ball back into the infield, the umpires halted play -- not soon enough for Orioles manager Mike Hargrove, who argued in vain that the stoppage should have come before the ball vanished in the falling snow.

    Burks, who was credited with an RBI single, had no idea where the ball went.

    "What ball?'' he said with a chuckle. "I couldn't even see it at the plate. I told the umpire I couldn't see it. I asked him if he could see it and he said, 'A little.'''

    Said Gibbons: "That's probably the first time I ever thought, 'Don't hit it to me.' I mean, I had no chance. I think it might have gone in the stands and come out. Nobody knows. It was a really strange play.''

    After a 13-minute delay in which the snow gave way to sunny skies, Karim Garcia hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.

    Hours later, with the bases loaded in the 13th, Matthews hit a liner off loser Jake Westbrook that soared over the head of Milton Bradley, who appeared to misjudge the ball.

    Winner B.J. Ryan worked the 13th for the Orioles, who trailed 4-1 in the sixth before coming back.

    Garcia, a former Oriole, added a solo homer in the sixth for the rebuilt Indians, who have a new manager, 35-year-old Eric Wedge, and only eight players remaining from the team that started the 2002 season.

    "The things that happened tonight usually happen over five, six, seven, eight games,'' Wedge said.

    C.C. Sabathia gave up two runs and eight hits in seven innings in his first Opening-Day start for Cleveland. He left with a 4-2 lead, but Marty Cordova tied it with a two-run homer in the eighth off reliever David Riske.

    Both teams scored one run in the 12th. Omar Vizquel hit an RBI single for the Indians, and Baltimore tied it when Matthews hit a leadoff single and scored on a passed ball by Josh Bard.

    The game got off to a routine start before the snow started in the second inning. The flurries turned into huge flakes in the third, leading to that rare baseball moment in which an outfielder loses a ball in the snow.

    "I saw it go up. I didn't see it land. I saw the umpire signal fair,'' Burks said.

    The three-run inning, which was aided by first baseman Jeff Conine's throwing error, came against Rodrigo Lopez, who allowed four runs, two earned, and eight hits in six innings.

    Game notes


    Former Orioles slugger Eddie Murray, now a hitting coach with Cleveland, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Murray will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer. ... Travis Hafner had three hits for the Indians. ... B.J. Surhoff, returning to Baltimore after a two-year absence, received the loudest applause during pregame introductions. He went 0-for-5.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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