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After booking two years in advance, Viking cancels some Mississippi River cruise passengers four days ahead of departure

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After Booking Two Years In Advance, Viking Cancels Some Mississippi River Cruise Passengers Four Days Ahead Of Departure
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Richard and Jean Pletcher hoped to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in style. In April 2020, the Eagan couple paid $18,800 to reserve a luxury cruise from St. Paul to New Orleans, which would have been their sixth voyage with Viking, an international cruise giant based in Switzerland.

Little more than a week ago, just four days before the first trip of the Viking Mississippi from the Mississippi River’s headwaters to its gulf, the company informed them by mail their reservation had been canceled. The 386-passenger luxury passenger ship, custom-built for the river, departed St. Paul’s Lambert’s Landing as planned, but the Pletchers were not aboard it. There was worse news to come.

“I called immediately and was given very little information, only that we could reschedule for the trip during 2023 or 2024 with a 110 percent credit,” said Richard Pletcher, who is in his 70s. “When I called just to inquire about this, I was told the first available trip was actually in 2025, because everything earlier was fully booked.”

In other words, “Viking wanted to keep our money for three more years, after already having it for almost two years,” said Pletcher, who instead demanded a full refund. “Asking for our understanding, loyalty and continued support. Needless to say, my response did not include any of these qualities.”

The Pletchers aren’t the only couple who have been bumped from Viking’s new Mississippi River cruises at the last minute.

Passengers from across the country say they’ve received letters from the cruise company informing them their reservation, paid for more than two years in advance, had been canceled just days ahead of departure. The letters offered limited explanation except to say that the company wants to ensure its voyages are top quality, and challenging circumstances mean that the Viking Mississippi must sail at reduced capacity.

Entire boat trips planned from St. Paul in July and August were canceled this summer, and interior work aboard the ship has apparently continued right through the first departure from St. Paul toward St. Louis, Missouri on Sept. 3.

It’s unclear how many reservations have been terminated with days to spare, but a Facebook community page created by a ticket holder on July 1 — “Viking Mississippi Cruise” — has drawn dozens of comments, many of them from worried or unhappy reservation-holders. Others said their trips were roughly half full, carrying about 200 passengers.

Calls to Viking for comment were not returned this week.

SOURCE OF DELAYS LIKELY A PERFECT STORM

Whether the company is primarily struggling with the national labor shortage, delayed staff trainings, or physical considerations such as supply chain issues impacting particular staterooms remains unclear. Passengers have said their consolation letter or on-board experience seems to raise the possibility of all three.

“We are currently on this ship,” wrote passenger Dean Siddons on the Facebook page, during a trip to St. Paul on Sept. 15. “There are numerous ship repair/maintenance people onboard and they are taking up rooms. There are also some Viking people here to do staff training, and some other Viking people with unknown functions that are not crew. None of these would normally be on the ship. So some of the rooms are unavailable for these reasons.”

Viking, which had once planned to debut its new cruise ship in 2017, delayed the launch five years while it worked through federal regulatory challenges under the Jones Act, otherwise known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The law requires vessels traveling between U.S. ports to carry U.S. crews and to be U.S.-owned, U.S.-registered and U.S.-built.

Even after appeasing the U.S. Maritime Administration by leasing a charter from Louisiana-based Edison Chouest, Viking had to deal with federals appeals filed by competing cruise companies. Some media outlets along the river corridor have pointed to likely supply chain challenges.

“As you may be aware, due to circumstances beyond our control, construction of the custom-built Viking Mississippi was delayed, impacting the ship’s delivery date and the preparations necessary to welcome guests on board,” reads a Sept. 8 letter from Viking to a California-based passenger who opted for a full refund.

“The ship has now begun sailing with her first guests, but we are still putting the finishing touches on the overall experience and refining the itinerary,” the letter continues. “On your scheduled departure, we must operate at a reduced capacity as we continue to ramp up service. Unfortunately, this means that some staterooms need to be cancelled, and we are contacting you today because yours is among them.”

A FINAL VOYAGE

Bumped customers have been offered full refunds or vouchers equivalent to 110 percent of what they’ve already paid so they can book at later dates. Passengers have called the latter is easier said than done as trips fill up years in advance. The prospect of waiting until 2025 to board a Viking cruise strikes some elderly passengers as iffy, if not unlikely given their age.

“When I inquired about how we go about rescheduling a trip in the future, if we even want to, the response was to check everyday and maybe there would be a cancellation,” Richard Pletcher said. “They wouldn’t even monitor cancellations and put us first in line to consider whether we could fill the vacancy.”

Catherine Frohnert and her husband, both in their 80s, booked their Viking trip on the Mississippi River in 2019 and paid for it in early 2020, only to learn this month their reservation from New Orleans to St. Paul had been canceled. Frohnert, a world traveler in her 80s who is Irish by birth but has lived in the U.S. most of her life, had planned to fly to New Orleans and travel back to Minnesota by water for what she assumed would be her final voyage. Rescheduling a trip three years from now sounds unlikely to her.

“I was looking forward to it. I read all the books of Mark Twain,” said Frohnert, a former St. Paul resident who now lives in Rochester, Minn. “Over the 56 years we’ve lived in America, mostly Minnesota, we have traveled to over 85 countries.”

“The only thing left that we wanted to do was to sail up the Mississippi,” she continued. “The price has shot up quite a bit from what we paid. If you go on Facebook, there are many people who were dumped. I’ve done Viking cruises on the Danube, the Rhine, and this was my last wish for travel. I was angry last Wednesday.”

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Source – Arizona Cardinals James Conner (ankle) on track to play Rams

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Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner will test his injured ankle ahead of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, but he’s on track to play, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Conner, who is listed as questionable, sat out practice Wednesday before returning for limited work Thursday and Friday.

Conner was slowed by injury after his first run of the second half in last week’s 29-23 overtime win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Eno Benjamin and Darrel Williams shared the workload in place of Conner for the remainder of the game, with Williams rushing for a key 1-yard touchdown on the Cardinals’ fourth quarter comeback.

Conner, 27, signed a three-year, $21 million contract to stay at Arizona this offseason. He has 17 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown this season.

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No. 23 Texas A&M’s fumble recovery handed in for a touchdown propels Aggies over No. 10 Arkansas

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No. 23 Texas A&Amp;M'S Fumble Recovery Handed In For A Touchdown Propels Aggies Over No. 10 Arkansas
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No. 23 Texas A&M suffered a huge upset at home against Appalachia State two weeks ago, but on Saturday they beat No. 10 Arkansas at AT&T Stadium, 23-21.

A wild turnover turned out to be a huge difference to the win.

Arkansas was only inches away from taking a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter. Instead, KJ Jefferson fumbled over the goal line and he was picked up by Tyreek Chappell who brought him back to the 18-yard line. But just as he was getting tackled, he handed it over to Demani Richardson who took the rest of the 82 yards for a touchdown with 3:11 left in the half.

Arkansas’ defense was able to force the Aggies to go for a 53-yard field goal that missed wide on the left, giving the Razorbacks a chance to take a lead at their own 36 with 6:30 to go. On the 3rd and 6th, Jefferson found Matt Landers for a 19 gain, followed by rushes from 11 and 10 yards from Raheim Sanders and Jefferson, respectively, to get to the opposing 21.

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Texas A&M wide receiver Evan Stewart (1) celebrates his touchdown during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Arkansas on Saturday September 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.
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But two plays later, a bad shot pushed them back to the 25th. On the 4th and 13th, Cam Little scored a 42-yard field goal to give Arkansas the lead, but he knocked it off the top of the post right. A&M managed to get down on one knee for the win.

Texas A&M Running Back Devon Achane (6) Carries The Ball During The First Half Of The Team's Ncaa College Football Game Against Arkansas On Saturday September 24, 2022 In Arlington, Texas.

Texas A&M running back Devon Achane (6) carries the ball during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Arkansas on Saturday September 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.
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NOPE. 5 CLEMSON SURVIVES BACK AGAINST NO. 21 WAKE FOREST IN DOUBLE OVERTIME

A&M got the ball back at halftime and went for 70 yards on six plays, including a 26-yard catch by Donovan Greene. Devon Achane ran for a score of nine yards, and the PAT gave the Aggies a 20-14 lead.

After Arkansas went to three, the Aggies had a long steady drive, and a 32-yard catch by Ainias Smith put them inside the red zone, but they went no further and had to settle for a field goal. They did, however, give them a 23-14 lead with 3:48 left in the third.

After the two teams traded punts, the Razorbacks’ 13-play drive was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown from Jefferson, cutting their deficit to two with 10:05 left.

Achane rushed for 159 yards on 19 carries, including one for a score, while Max Johnson completed 11 of 21 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.

Jefferson threw for just 171 yards but rushed for another 105 as the team’s top rusher. Warren Thompson had two catches for 57 yards and a touchdown, while Jadon Haselwood had 56 yards on five catches.

Texas A&M Wide Receiver Evan Stewart (1) Celebrates His Touchdown During The First Half Of The Team's Ncaa College Football Game Against Arkansas On Saturday September 24, 2022 In Arlington, Texas.

Texas A&M wide receiver Evan Stewart (1) celebrates his touchdown during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Arkansas on Saturday September 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.
(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

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Texas A&M will visit Mississippi State next Saturday, while Arkansas will host Alabama.

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A father speaks out after his son and daughter were killed in domestic trouble in the Oak Forest – NBC Chicago

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A Father Speaks Out After His Son And Daughter Were Killed In Domestic Trouble In The Oak Forest - Nbc Chicago
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A heartbroken father is speaking out about the loss of his son and daughter, who were among those killed in a domestic incident on Friday morning in Oak Forest.

Jorge Rodriguez’s son Emilio, 20, and daughter Briana, 22, were shot and killed in a sprawling incident on Saturday that sparked a massive police presence and terrified the southern suburbs community. The deaths of Emilio, Briana, as well as their mother, Lupe Gomez, were all adjudicated homicides, authorities say.

The police have not officially named the person responsible for the rampage. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, however, said Saturday it ruled the death of one of the individuals, Carlos Gomez, 44, a suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

On Saturday, a day after losing his children, Jorge Rodriguez looked back on the memories and time he shared with his children, saying his heart is forever broken.

“No father should ever bury his children,” he said. “They tell me I have to be strong, yes, but I can’t.”

Jorge Rodriguez said his daughter, Briana, had a big smile, while Emilio protected his older sister. Both intended to return to school.

“She wanted to go to college and she wanted to learn sign language,” added Dawn Guerrero, wife of Jorge Rodriguez. “Emilio was always a funny guy, he had a heart.”

At least four people have died following a shooting, barricade situation and house fire reported Friday in Oak Forest, officials said. NBC 5’s Lexi Sutter shares more insight into the incident.

Jorge Rodriguez and his fiancé say they fought for years for custody of the children, but lost their battle in court.

“So many reports on the house, no one caught it, and now it’s too late,” Guerrero said.

Jorge Rodriguez said he just wanted his kids back, and now he has to live with that regret for the rest of his life.

“They will always be in my heart,” he said.

“We want to bury our children peacefully so that they have peace now, and no longer be in chaos and pain,” added his wife, Guerrero.

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Orioles bullpen falters in 11-10 loss to Astros, squandering outstanding offensive performance – The Denver Post

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Orioles Bullpen Falters In 11-10 Loss To Astros, Squandering Outstanding Offensive Performance - The Denver Post
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There will be no doubt about height selection. Only the location. Felix Bautista, who has been a big closer to the Orioles this season, was one shot away from sealing a fourth victory for Baltimore. With Kyle Tucker at the plate, Bautista pitched his splitter — a pitch that ranks among the best in baseball.

But Bautista, throwing his season-high 33rd pitch, left that splitter too high in the strike zone, and Tucker hit it into right field to end Bautista’s night with a punch in an eventual 11-10 defeat.

With the way the Orioles starting pitchers had played the past three games, the bullpen was well rested. Bautista was the only reliever to record a strikeout during Baltimore’s three-game winning streak, which included full games from Jordan Lyles and Dean Kremer and 8 2/3 innings from Kyle Bradish. Yet when Bautista and the rest of the bullpen appeared, they caved in big moments, rendering one of the best offensive performances of the season moot and pushing the Orioles (79-72) four games behind. the Seattle Mariners for the wild American League final. map square.

Anthony Santander hit two home runs. Cedric Mullins hit one. Rougned Odor opened the ninth inning with a solo shot, giving the Orioles a lifeline. But all of those fireworks-inducing moments were abandoned by a bullpen that allowed nine runs behind a four-inning start from right-hander Mike Baumann.

Baumann started in place of Tyler Wells, who is likely out for the season after landing on the 15-day injured list with an inflamed right shoulder. His four innings were solid, although he allowed a two-run homer to José Altuve on a 3-0 count. But after mostly featuring out of the bullpen this season, it was Baumann’s leash, as he handed the reins to a relief corps that has seen little use of late.

They weakened immediately, and again late.

The Orioles scored five runs in one inning for the second straight game against the Astros, capitalizing on an error by shortstop Jeremy Peña to charge the bases. Odor’s second hit against Houston this series led to the same result: a two-run single. Mullins’ two-run homer and Santander’s first solo shot were enough to tie the game at six.

Then Ryan Mountcastle shoved an RBI through the right side for a momentary lead, knocking Framber Valdez out of the game and breaking the Astros southpaw’s streak of 25 quality starts. Baltimore failed to capitalize in the seventh with bases loaded and no outs, only adding pressure to a bullpen that has been loose lately.

The bullpen hadn’t been asked to register more than one out in the previous three games, but with his first major responsibility since Lyles’ full game against the Detroit Tigers, he got it right away. weakened. Right-hander Joey Krehbiel came on for Baumann for the fifth inning, then charged with one out. In one fell swoop, Peña unloaded them, sinking two runners with a brace into the left center gap.

And in his first action in four days, left-hander Cionel Pérez immediately gave away a single to Yordan Álvarez. Pérez has been rarely used lately, with Baltimore only needing a high-leverage late-inning arm twice since Sept. 14.

Even Bautista, the only reliever to appear in the previous three games, hesitated. He inherited a runner from right-hander Dillon Tate in the eighth, setting himself up for a five-out stoppage. But Yuli Gurriel fired a brace down the left field line to tie the game, leading to Santander’s spectacular two-point shot that looked to be the game winner.

But Bautista then charged in the ninth inning, allowed a run to score on a groundout, then gave away a tying brace to Kyle Tucker for his second missed save this season. And right-hander Jake Reed, relieving Bautista, allowed the legacy runners to score to condemn Baltimore to a loss.

“Thanks, Brooks Day”

Forty-five years ago, Brooks Robinson rode the Memorial Stadium warning track in an open-top Cadillac, waving to Orioles fans celebrating his illustrious career – a career that included 16 Gold Glove Awards, two the World Series and a place in the Hall of Fame.

Saturday, there was still Robinson. This time the 85-year-old was seated rather than standing as he drove a Ford convertible around Camden Yards. But the sentiments, on his part and expressed by those watching, remained the same. Robinson stopped to speak with Astros manager Dusty Baker and third baseman Alex Bregman, then left the vehicle to join the Orioles around the pitcher’s mound.

They presented Robinson with a signed base, then Robinson threw the ceremonial first pitch to Gunnar Henderson. The ball lacked the Robinson zip once displayed when shooting through the diamond, but it hit the 21-year-old in a couple of jumps to the delight of those watching.

Robinson’s name transcends Baltimore and carries weight in MLB, but he’s a distinctly Baltimore character. When Brandon Hyde was hired, Robinson was in the manager’s office to greet him. Then he sat in the front row of the introductory press conference with Hyde’s family, immediately proving that no matter how many years away from Robinson, he will always be an Oriole.

“He was so nice to me and my family,” Hyde said. “That legend, how open, friendly and welcoming he was, I will always remember.”

This story will be updated.

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About 7,000 people attend the funeral of Hells Angels leader Ralph “Sonny” Barger at Stockton 99 Speedway

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Motorcycles and cars line Stockton 99 Speedway, the funeral site of Ralph “Sonny” Barger, founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

Thousands of people gathered at Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday for the funeral of Ralph “Sonny” Barger, longtime president and founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club.

It was an event that the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office warned Friday could become dangerous.

But those in attendance wept, shared stories and remembered the 83-year-old Modesto native who died of cancer on June 29.

Stories, Music And Tears Marked Ralph's Service Stories, Music And Tears Marked Ralph's Service

Stories, music and tears marked the service of Ralph “Sonny” Barger, founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels. Thousands of people gathered at Stockton 99 Speedway, Stockton on Saturday September 24, the site of the service.

“Even though he was blind in one eye and replenishing his oxygen, well, when his crutch came up, you better catch up,” one speaker said.

As of early Saturday evening, no significant incidents had occurred at the funeral, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said. Sheriff Patrick Withrow advised residents at a Friday news conference to avoid the freeway area, located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, and said rival Hells Angels organizations are likely to be in the area.

Thousands Of People Gathered At Stockton 99 Speedway, Stockton On Saturday September 24 To Remember Ralph Thousands Of People Gathered At Stockton 99 Speedway, Stockton On Saturday September 24 To Remember Ralph

Thousands gathered at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton on Saturday September 24 to remember Ralph “Sonny” Barger, founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels.

The sheriff’s office, Stockton Police Department and California Highway Patrol planned to maintain a highly visible presence in the area, he said.

Medical assistance was requested from the service for two participants on the infield of the track. Traffic was light on the section of Wilson Way off the freeway around 4:30 p.m. CHP could not immediately be reached for comment.

About 7,000 people showed up for Barger’s funeral, according to Tony Noceti, the president of the company that operates the highway. Some came from various parts of California, others sported the colors of clubs from New Jersey, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Thousands Of People Gathered At Stockton 99 Speedway, Stockton On Saturday September 24 To Remember Ralph Thousands Of People Gathered At Stockton 99 Speedway, Stockton On Saturday September 24 To Remember Ralph

Thousands gathered at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton on Saturday September 24 to remember Ralph “Sonny” Barger, founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels.

Throughout the afternoon, the indoor track was filled with people gathered in front of a stage decorated with rose wreaths where Barger’s family and friends spoke. Barger was a founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels, founded in 1957.

Barger was well known as the public face of the club, which has chapters around the world and is considered a gang by the Department of Justice. He is the author of several books and has contributed to several films and has been a consultant and had a role in the TV show “Sons of Anarchy”.

Barger was convicted in 1988 of conspiracy to kill members of a rival club and blow up their headquarters, The Associated Press reported at the time.

The funeral was scheduled to take place from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., with speakers, a slide show and performances by the Fryed Brothers Band.

Record reporter Aaron Leathley covers public safety. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeathleyAaron. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at

This article originally appeared on The Record: Funeral for Hells Angel Sonny Barger held in Stockton

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Orioles bullpen falters in 11-10 loss to Astros, wasting standout offensive performance

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Orioles Bullpen Falters In 11-10 Loss To Astros, Wasting Standout Offensive Performance
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There won’t be any second-guessing the pitch selection. Only the location. Félix Bautista, who has been a stout closer for the Orioles this season, was one strike away from sealing a fourth victory for Baltimore. With Kyle Tucker at the plate, Bautista hurled his splitter — a pitch that ranks among the best in baseball.

But Bautista, throwing his season-high 33rd pitch, left that splitter too high in the strike zone, and Tucker lashed it into right field to end Bautista’s evening with a gut-punch in an eventual 11-10 loss.

With the way Orioles starting pitchers had performed the past three games, the bullpen was well rested. Bautista was the only reliever to record an out during Baltimore’s three-game winning streak, which included complete games from Jordan Lyles and Dean Kremer and 8 2/3 innings from Kyle Bradish. Yet when Bautista and the rest of the bullpen appeared, they buckled in big moments, rendering one of the top offensive showings of the season moot and pushing the Orioles (79-72) four games behind the Seattle Mariners for the final American League wild-card spot.

Anthony Santander blasted two home runs. Cedric Mullins hit one. Rougned Odor opened the ninth inning with a solo shot, giving the Orioles a lifeline. But all those firework-inducing moments went by the wayside to a bullpen that gave up nine runs behind a four-inning start from right-hander Mike Baumann.

Baumann started in place of Tyler Wells, who is likely done for the season after landing on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. His four innings were solid, though he allowed a two-run homer to José Altuve on a 3-0 count. But after mainly featuring out of the bullpen this season, that was Baumann’s leash, as he handed the reins over to a relief corps that has been seldom used of late.

They faltered immediately, and again late.

The Orioles notched five runs in an inning for the second straight game against the Astros, taking advantage of an error from shortstop Jeremy Peña to load the bases. Odor’s second hit against Houston this series led to the same result: a two-run single. Mullins’ two-run homer and Santander’s first solo shot were enough to level the game at six.

Then Ryan Mountcastle poked an RBI through the right side for a momentary lead, knocking Framber Valdez out of the game and breaking the Astros left-hander’s streak of 25 quality starts. Baltimore failed to capitalize in the seventh with bases loaded and no outs, only adding pressure on a bullpen that has relaxed of late.

The bullpen hadn’t been asked to record more than one out over the previous three games, but with its first major responsibility since Lyles’ complete game against the Detroit Tigers, it faltered straight away. Right-hander Joey Krehbiel entered in place of Baumann for the fifth inning, then loaded the bases with one out. With one swing, Peña unloaded them, driving in two runners with a double into the left-center gap.

And in his first action in four days, left-hander Cionel Pérez immediately gave up a single to Yordan Álvarez. Pérez has been infrequently used of late, with Baltimore needing a high-leverage, late-inning arm just twice since Sept. 14.

Even Bautista, the lone reliever to appear in the previous three games, wavered. He inherited a runner from right-hander Dillon Tate in the eighth, preparing for a five-out save. But Yuli Gurriel lofted a double down the left field line to tie the game, leading to Santander’s dramatic two-run shot that looked to be the game-winner.

But Bautista then loaded the bases in the ninth inning, allowed a run to score on a groundout, then gave up a game-tying double to Kyle Tucker for his second blown save this season. And right-hander Jake Reed, in relief of Bautista, allowed the inherited runners to score to doom Baltimore to a loss.

‘Thanks, Brooks’ Day

Forty-five years ago, Brooks Robinson rode around the warning track of Memorial Stadium in an open-top Cadillac, waving to Orioles fans celebrating his illustrious career — a career that included 16 Gold Glove Awards, two World Series titles and a place in the Hall of Fame.

On Saturday, there was Robinson again. This time, the 85-year-old sat rather than stood as he rode in a convertible Ford around Camden Yards. But the sentiments, from him and expressed by those looking on, remained the same. Robinson stopped to talk with Astros manager Dusty Baker and third baseman Alex Bregman, then left the vehicle to join the Orioles around the pitcher’s mound.

They presented Robinson with a signed base, then Robinson threw the ceremonial first pitch to Gunnar Henderson. The ball didn’t have the zip Robinson once displayed when firing across the diamond, but it reached the 21-year-old on a few hops to the delight of those watching.

Robinson’s name transcends Baltimore and has weight throughout MLB, but he’s a distinctly Baltimore character. When Brandon Hyde was hired, Robinson was in the manager’s office to greet him. Then he sat in the first row of the introductory press conference along with Hyde’s family, proving immediately that no matter how many years removed Robinson is from playing, he’ll always be an Oriole.

“He was so nice to me and my family,” Hyde said. “This legend, how open he was, how friendly and welcoming, I’ll always remember that.”

This story will be updated.

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