The Orioles were cruising with a 5-0 lead behind rookie Hayden Penn after getting four solo homers in five innings off Dave Williams, but Pittsburgh scored twice in the sixth on reliever John Parrish's run-scoring wild pitch and Ward's RBI double.
"You can't just lay down," said Sal Fasano, who homered twice in Baltimore's first loss in four games. "The Pirates are a pretty
decent team and they've been playing well lately. Unfortunately, it happened to us."
The comeback came so quickly and so unexpectedly, manager Lee Mazzilli couldn't get reliever Jorge Julio (2-2) out of the game before he turned a 5-2 lead into a 6-5 deficit. Rob Mackowiak singled and Jason Bay walked, and Ward tied it with his 11th homer.
"I made good contact at the right time," said Ward, who drove in four runs. "I'm not saying I was looking to hit a home run, but with him throwing it 98 mph, I'm looking to put good wood on it. And then Jack, he doesn't hit a lot of home runs, but he powered it up, too."
Julio got the next two batters but Wilson, slumping nearly all season and his average in the low .200s, followed with his third homer, hitting Julio's first pitch into the left field seats.
"He was throwing, he wasn't pitching tonight," Mazzilli said. "His fastball was up, and you can't throw fastballs by fastball hitters in fastball counts. This game's gone on for 100 years, and you just can't do it that way."
Julio, who had held the previous 16 leads handed to him, had no explanation.
"I don't know what happened, but I didn't feel comfortable on the mound tonight," he said.
The Orioles had been 27-1 when leading after seven innings. The Pirates were 2-21 when trailing after seven.
"They're one of the best teams in baseball and they put five up in a hurry against us," Wilson said. "I just fed off Daryle's homer -- he put us back in it. To come back and win this game, it was huge."
It was a jolt to the Orioles, who squandered a big lead, a four-homer game and the chance to get the 20-year-old Penn his first career victory. They also missed out on increasing their AL East lead to five games over the Red Sox, who lost 9-2 in St. Louis.
Sammy Sosa and Melvin Mora also homered to help give the Orioles a 5-0 lead that looked safe. The Orioles are 18-9 on the road and have yet to lose any of their nine road series, while the Pirates are a major league-worst 13-16 at home. They were also 2-9 in one-run games at home.
Sosa was only 8-for-49 since coming off the disabled list May 24 until he hit his sixth homer, in the second. Sosa, who previously faced Williams while with the Cubs, is 8-for-13 with six homers against the left-hander.
Williams allowed eight homers in 60 innings in his first 10 starts before giving up half that many in 4 1/3 innings. Manager Lloyd McClendon didn't give him a chance to serve up another to Sosa, who, a night after the Pirates intentionally walked Miguel Tejada twice to face him, was intentionally walked by Williams in the fourth.
Three of the Orioles' four solo shots led off an inning, with Fasano connecting to start the third and fifth and Mora doing so in the fourth. The Orioles, second in the majors with 84 homers, matched a team season high set three times previously with four
Tejada, 4-for-6 with four extra-base hits in the series, doubled to start the sixth -- the Orioles' fourth consecutive extra-base hit to start an inning -- and scored on Jay Gibbons' single off Ryan Vogelsong to make it 5-0.
Pirates rookie catcher Ryan Doumit got his first career hit, a double, in the first inning of his first career start. ... Fasano has three multihomer games, the last coming on July 30, 2000. ... The Pirates have won six of nine. The Orioles had won three in a row. ... The Pirates' Matt Lawton walked twice and has reached base 14 times in his last four games. ... The ceremonial
first pitch was thrown by a robot built by a Pittsburgh-area company and vocational school students, in conjunction with a Defense Department program. ... Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, out six games with a shoulder injury, flied out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.