Baltimore Orioles' Brian Roberts singles in the first inning Tuesday night in his first major league appearance in nearly 13 months after a suffering a concussion. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

It was a moment many — including Brian Roberts — believed might never come. During the Orioles second baseman’s long recovery from multiple concussions, there was no timetable for a return, no date on the calendar to circle. Only plenty of obstacles and uncertainty along the way.

But Roberts’s return to the lineup Tuesday evening, nearly 13 months since his last major league game, gave the Orioles a top-of-the lineup spark they hadn’t had this season.

As Roberts played his way back to Baltimore – through the isolation of Sarasota to traveling with the team earlier this season to his three-team minor-league rehab tour that ended Monday — Orioles Manager Buck Showalter waxed about how much a healthy Roberts could help the Orioles stay in the AL East race.

Hitting from the leadoff spot and starting at second base, Roberts had three singles and drove in a run in the Orioles 8-6 win over the Pirates, giving Baltimore its third straight win.

The Orioles (35-26) moved into a second-place tie with the Rays, one game behind the division-leading Yankees.

With Roberts atop the lineup, the Orioles first four hitters went 11-for-19 with 6 RBI.

When he stepped to the plate for the first time in an Orioles uniform since May 16, 2011, Roberts received a rousing ovation from the announced crowd of 15,613 at Camden Yards wearing a protective double-flapped helmet.

He then singled up the middle with a same classic swing that Orioles fans remember.

— Baltimore Sun