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BALTIMORE – Mat Latos came out of the bullpen confident he was ready to take on the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles.
Then it rained. And rained some more.
By the time Latos threw his first pitch, it was 2 1/2 hours after the scheduled starting time. He never found his groove, and the Cincinnati Reds absorbed a 5-4 loss Tuesday night.
Rain delayed the start of the game for 23 minutes, and another shower in the top of the first inning caused a stoppage of 1 hour, 46 minutes. When it finally came time for Latos to throw, he struggled from the outset.
Baltimore scored four runs on five hits in the first inning, and Jonathan Schoop led off the second with a homer for a 5-0 lead.
"It (stunk)," Latos said. "You know, all of your adrenaline comes out of the bullpen. I like to create a tempo in the bullpen how I am going to pitch in the game. ... I felt really good coming out of the pen. Mother Nature must have snuck up on us again. It's the second time this has happened to me in two away games."
Latos (5-4) yielded five runs and a season-high 10 hits over five innings in his first loss since July 27.
Baltimore's Bud Norris, on the other hand, threw six shutout innings to send the Reds to their 14th loss in 20 games.
"You want to stay loose, you want to pitch," he said. "It's your day to go."
Nelson Cruz delivered his career-high 91st RBI in the pivotal first inning with a single. Chris Davis and Caleb Joseph added RBI singles around a run-scoring groundout to send the Orioles to their seventh win in nine games.
Baltimore withstood an eighth-inning grand slam by Jay Bruce to extend its lead in the AL East to a season-high 9 1/2 games.
"It definitely (stinks) putting your team in a whole 5-0 in the first two innings," Latos said. "I'm very disappointed in myself. I was able to make pitches when I needed to after those first couple of innings. It's a shame I wasted a grand slam from Jay Bruce."
Norris (12-8) allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked one. He was 0-3 with a 5.11 ERA in his previous seven starts against Cincinnati.
"That was pretty impressive to go out there," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Bruce's third career slam, off Darren O'Day, got the Reds to 5-4.
In the Cincinnati ninth, Ramon Santiago doubled off Zach Britton with one out and took third on an infield hit by Billy Hamilton. Britton then got Todd Frazier to hit into a double play to secure his 32nd save.
The game didn't finally end, however, until after a review of the final play. The replay confirmed that Hamilton got tagged in the baseline before Schoop completed the double play with a throw to first.
"As a baserunner, you absolutely cannot be tagged there," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It's the only way they are going to turn two in that situation. It's those things you got to learn from."
Cincinnati is 15-28 since the All-Star break.
After the first delay, the first play left three people on the ground. Hamilton hit a liner off Norris' leg, and the ball ricocheted toward first base. Norris dived on it and threw to first, too late, and Hamilton ran into umpire Mike DiMuro. Hamilton recovered from the collision but DiMuro left with an unspecified injury.
Hamilton then stole second, setting a Reds rookie record with 55 for the season, before the rain came — again.
Reds: Cincinnati placed RHP Homer Bailey (elbow) on the 60-day DL, ending his season. Surgery "will be considered as something that would certainly rectify the problem," Price said.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy was sidelined with back spasms but intended to play Wednesday. "It's as close to 100 percent as possible," he said. 1B Steve Pearce (abdominal strain) expects to sit out the series.
Reds: Dylan Axelrod (1-1) makes his third start of the season. He has a 1.64 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11 innings.
Orioles: Miguel Gonzalez (7-7) faces the Reds for the first time. The right-hander is 1-1 in four career interleague starts.