BALTIMORE -- Not one, but two rain delays on Tuesday night prevented Reds starter Mat Latos from taking the mound for his appointed assignment to face the Orioles for over two hours.
There was no delayed gratification for Latos against the Orioles once he finally pitched and fell behind quickly on the way to a 5-4 Reds loss.
Baltimore jumped to a 4-0 lead through one inning and led, 5-0, after two. It took a Jay Bruce grand slam in the eighth inning to get Cincinnati back in the game before ultimately enduring its Major League-most 34th one-run loss of the season -- the team's most since dropping 41 in 1946.
There was an added sting when the game ended with a baserunning mistake. With runners on the corners and one out against closer Zach Britton, Todd Frazier grounded to second base. Running from first base, Billy Hamilton did not stop and was tagged on the thigh by Jonathan Schoop before he threw to first base for the double play to keep the tying run from scoring. The Reds challenged the tag of Hamilton, but it was ruled to stand as called after a brief review.
"You know as a baserunner that you absolutely cannot be tagged there," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It's the only way they're going to turn two in that situation, at least a traditional tag and throw to first to prevent the run scoring from third base. It's those things that you have to learn from them. It's the only thing you can pull from a game like this."
Latos lasted only five innings and allowed five earned runs while tying a career high with 10 hits. He walked one and struck out two.
"It definitely [stinks] putting your team in a hole, 5-0, in the first two innings. ... I'm very disappointed," Latos said. "It's a shame to waste a grand slam from Jay Bruce. I've just got to pitch better."
Pregame showers scratched batting practice and delayed the first pitch for 23 minutes. Once the game got started, a sudden heavy downpour stopped play two batters in, but not before Hamilton led off and collided with the first-base umpire while running out an infield single. He then promptly set a new Reds rookie record with his 55th steal.
The second delay lasted one hour and 46 minutes, in part because the field got soaked before the grounds crew could cover it with the tarp. Latos tried to stay loose by throwing simulated innings from a mound in the visitors' indoor batting cage.
When Latos took the mound, the Orioles pounced for four runs. While the batted balls stayed mainly on the ground, almost all of them found a way through. The third hit of the inning, a rolling one-out single to left field by Nelson Cruz, scored Nick Markakis. Chris Davis followed with an RBI single through the right side that scored Alejandro De Aza. Second baseman Brandon Phillips made a diving stop on a Jimmy Paredes RBI grounder that robbed a hit.
Caleb Joseph's lined RBI single to center field made it a 4-0 game before the eighth Oriole to bat in the first, Ryan Flaherty, struck out to end the inning. Leading off the bottom of the second inning, Schoop pounded a 2-0 Latos pitch to left field for a home run.
"All your adrenaline comes out of the bullpen, I like to create a tempo in the bullpen, how I'm going to pitch in the game," Latos said. "I felt really good coming out of the 'pen. Mother Nature must have snuck up on us again. ... I guess here they didn't bother to look at the radar system. It is what it is. I'll just take it to the next game and hopefully I'll pitch better."
Following the homer, Latos retired eight of the next 10 batters. He gave up three singles in the fifth but escaped more damage. After Latos departed, the Reds' bullpen kept Baltimore from tacking on runs. It included lefty Ryan Dennick making his Major League debut with a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
Orioles starter Bud Norris gave up four hits over his six scoreless innings.
"Two pitchers were under similar conditions. Mat didn't come out as sharp as he typically is. Norris came out pretty sharp," Price said. "Mat kept himself in the game. He had that rough first inning and one run over the next four. He gave us a chance to get back into it, but we weren't able to avoid the big inning."
The Reds finally rallied against reliever Darren O'Day in the eighth. It proved to be an inning where four runs scored with only one hit.
That's because O'Day walked his first batter, Hamilton, and saw Phillips reach on a throwing error by Paredes at third base. Devin Mesoraco was hit on the back with a 1-1 pitch to load the bases.
Next came Bruce, who lifted a 1-0 pitch high and far into the night for the third grand slam of his career -- cutting the deficit to one run.