-- No matter what you think you might have seen Tuesday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Melvin Mora and B.J. Surhoff did not hit home runs off Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in the first two innings, Orioles starter Rodrigo Lopez did not get roughed up in the top of the third, and packs of alcohol-fueled fans -- most of whom appeared to be wearing Red Sox red -- did not perform theatrical head-first slides across the wet tarp, overwhelming security personnel by their sheer numbers.
Actually, all of the above did occur. However, all statistical memory of the nearly 21/2 innings that were played was wiped away when the game was called off by the umpires at 9:16 p.m. because of persistent heavy rains, with the Orioles holding a 4-2 lead. It was the Orioles' ninth rainout this season.
The game will be replayed in its entirety. Although no makeup date was announced, the game likely will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader when the Red Sox visit Baltimore again on the final weekend of the season, Oct. 1-3.
"It's unfortunate," Orioles Manager Lee Mazzilli said. "You have two guys lose home runs. But that's the nature of the beast." Asked if he would have preferred waiting until the wee hours to play, if need be, given his team's two-run lead, Mazzilli said: "You'd like to, but it wasn't looking too good. You never like it when you're ahead."
Mora's solo homer off Wakefield -- who had stymied the Orioles five days earlier in Boston with seven shutout innings in a 4-0 Red Sox win -- gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead, and Surhoff's two-run homer an inning later made it 3-0. Singles by Jerry Hairston and Karim Garcia, a walk by Luis Lopez and an RBI groundout by David Newhan accounted for the Orioles' fourth run.
And statistically speaking, none of it really occurred.
Surhoff's lost homer was especially disappointing, coming as it did on his first swing in a game in nearly six weeks. Surhoff, who was activated from the disabled list before the game, had not played since straining his left calf on June 18.
Mora's homer would have been his 16th of the season, Surhoff's his fourth.
Meantime, Lopez had breezed through the first two innings with three strikeouts, but had already given up a pair of runs in the third -- on Gabe Kapler's RBI double and Johnny Damon's RBI single -- and had recorded only two outs when crew chief Jim Joyce finally stopped play.
"That last inning was tough" for Lopez, Mazzilli said. "He couldn't get a grip on the ball."
Although both pitchers made abbreviated starts, neither will appear in Wednesday night's series finale, in which Baltimore's Dave Borkowski will face Boston's Curt Schilling. Because the New York Yankees won in Toronto, the Red Sox lost a half-game in the standings Tuesday night, and now trail the Yankees by eight games.
Lopez's short outing gives the Orioles the opportunity to bring him back on short rest this weekend in New York, perhaps allowing them to give rookie right-hander Daniel Cabrera an extra day or two of rest. Team officials have expressed concern over Cabrera's workload, and had planned to skip his final turn before the all-star break until Sidney Ponson suffered a pulled groin muscle.
Orioles Notes: Although second baseman Brian Roberts got the night off, Mazzilli kept Jerry Hairston -- the team's other second baseman -- in right field, with Luis Lopez filling in at second. Mazzilli wanted Lopez and Surhoff in the lineup, given their past success against Wakefield, and that required him to play Hairston in right field.
The Orioles continue to field offers for either Roberts or Hairston as Saturday's trade deadline approaches -- hoping to get a starting pitcher in return -- but team officials have been underwhelmed by those offers. . . .
The Orioles released pitching prospect Mike Paradis, their top pick in the 1999 draft. Paradis, 26, was 29-47 in six professional seasons and had dropped from Class AAA Ottawa all the way to low Class A Delmarva this season.