Tampa Bay Rays
Rays-Tribe late show one for the books
It was after midnight when the rain stopped and the players returned to the field.
What was left of the crowd of 29,603 at Progress Field cheered.
They had waited through three rain delays totaling nearly five hours, feasted on dollar hot dogs that were reduced to 50 cents and watched the Indians briefly move into a tie for first place in the American League Central when the Orioles rallied past the Tigers in a game shown on the big video screen in left field.
They danced when Madonna said they could dance, chanted “Let them play! Let them play!” when the rain subsided and booed when it was announced that the postgame fireworks show was canceled.
Now they were clapping as Eric Clapton sang, “After midnight, we're going to let it all hang down.”
Friday night/Saturday morning produced one of the stranger games in Rays history.
“It's a very awkward way to do this, but if you're going to stick around that long, you might as well win it,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The Rays did, winning 9-2 behind a solid job by Jamey Wright, who pitched three innings for the win, and Cesar Ramos, who pitched the final three innings to earn his first big-league save.
Matt Moore pitched the first inning and had the rest of his start washed out by two rain delays. Josh Lueke worked two innings. All four combined on a one-hitter, and that hit was a fifth-inning double by Ryan Raburn that hit Matt Joyce in the back as he tried to make a leaping catch at the wall.
The game was delayed three times for a total of 4 hours, 49 minutes, making it the longest rain-delayed regular-season game in team history and the ninth-longest in major league history. Game 5 of the 2008 World Series was delayed 46 hours.
The game ended at 2:53 a.m., making it the latest game in team history. The previous latest was Game 2 of the 2008 American League Championship Series that ended at 1:35.
“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was played at 2 a.m.
The couple that got engaged on the big screen during the first inning — he an Indians fan, she a Rays fan — were already back from their honeymoon when Nick Swisher grounded out to end the game.
OK, that didn't happen.
“I think we were all kind of shaking our heads,” Sam Fuld said. “I don't think any of us ever experienced anything like that. In retrospect, yeah, we're glad we played. It's nice to avoid playing long doubleheaders, especially when there's rain in the forecast (this weekend).”
The first rain delay lasted 1 hour, 57 minutes and pushed back the start of the game from 7:05 p.m. to 9:02.
The teams played 16 minutes, during which all eight batters were retired.
That's when the second rain delay occurred. It was relatively short — 13 minutes.
But when play resumed, it lasted three minutes, or just long enough for Luke Scott to draw a walk and Desmond Jennings to line out to second base.
The tarp was rolled back over the infield after Jennings was retired, and everyone in the stadium hunkered down for what would be a 2-hour, 39-minute delay.
The Rays used that time playing cards, video games and ping-pong.
Fuld played ping-pong, winning seven straight games at one point.
Alex Cobb, Jeremy Hellickson, Sean Rodriguez and Evan Longoria also played some table tennis to stay loose.
Wright, whose hometown of Oklahoma City was hit by another bad storm earlier in the day, spent his time talking to his family in the area. He even brought his mobile phone to the bullpen during the first inning so he could get updates.
“I'm happy for the win,” Wright said. “But it's not a good day. I feel bad. I feel bad for my people.”
Chris Archer, Saturday's starter, left the stadium at 9 p.m. and headed to the team hotel for a good night's sleep.
An hour later, Jeff Beliveau arrived after a horrible day of travel. Called up to add a fresh arm to the bullpen, Believeau's 2:30 p.m. direct flight from Raleigh-Durham to Cleveland was delayed because of a flat tire. He eventually caught a flight that went through Charlotte, N.C.
Beliveau warmed up in the bullpen at one point.
“They were ready to play tonight at midnight after sitting around all day,” Maddon said. “It's a pretty significant win based on all the different obstacles. There were a bunch of obstacles out there, and we did a great job. I'm proud of the guys. That's about as cool of a win as I ever experienced in professional baseball.”
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