Weather rains on comeback bid
Rays to resume Game 5 with score tied after Pena's RBI hit
PHILADELPHIA -- A suspended Game 5 has delayed the answer for whether the Rays will live to play another game in the 2008 World Series.
Game 5 started in rainy conditions on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park in front of a crowd of 45,940. The nasty weather conditions progressed to the point where the game went to a rain delay at 10:40 p.m. ET, after the Rays had just tied the game at 2 in the top of the sixth. At 11:10 p.m., the game was officially suspended.
No decision has been made as to when the game will resume. Rain is once again in Philadelphia's Tuesday forecast.
The Rays -- who remain down in the Series, 3-1 -- found new life in the sixth when they manufactured a run to tie the game. B.J. Upton singled with two outs to start the inning and splashed safely into second base with a stolen base to reach scoring position.
"I expected it to be soft, but it still kind of tore up my knee a little bit," said Upton, who reached the base quicker than expected before coming to an abrupt stop at the bag.
Carlos Pena followed with a single to left to drive home Upton, whose slide barely beat Pat Burrell's throw.
"My main thing was giving myself a chance to score and staying on my feet. [I] didn't want to slip there," Upton said. "Like I said, he had to make a perfect throw right there. The ball was wet. I just wanted to stay on my feet."
After Evan Longoria flied out to end the inning, the tarp was spread over the infield and the rain delay began.
Fortunately for the Rays, after the 2006 season, the Playing Rules Committee made changes that ensured the game would be suspended and finished when weather permits. Prior to the introduction of this rule, the suspended game would have reverted back to the beginning of the inning, with the Phillies leading, 2-1, because Philadelphia did not bat in the bottom of the sixth. But that is no longer the case, so Game 5 will resume with the score tied at 2 and the Phillies at bat.
A LITTLE ROUGH AT FIRST
|Scott Kazmir gave up two runs in the first inning for the fourth time in five starts this postseason. His first-inning performances in the 2008 playoffs:|
|ALDS Game 2 vs. CWS|
|ALCS Game 2 vs. BOS|
|ALCS Game 5 vs. BOS|
|WS Game 1 vs. PHI|
|WS Game 5 vs. PHI|
"I wasn't even thinking about the fact that the game was about to be called or suspended, to be honest with you," Pena said. "I wasn't. I didn't really spend too much time thinking about it at all.
"In reality, it's a surprise to me that was actually the rule, and if we didn't score there, that would be the end of it. But at the same time, I'm like, 'Well, it's been a magical season for us, and at the same time, just an unbelievable twist to the beautiful story that we have been this year.' So it is a surprise, but this story just keeps getting better."
Scott Kazmir started for the Rays and got off to a rough start. The Rays left-hander has had first-inning struggles throughout the 2008 season, and Monday night brought more of the same. After retiring Phillies leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, Kazmir walked Jayson Werth and hit Chase Utley with a pitch before striking out Ryan Howard. Burrell then walked to load the bases for Shane Victorino, who singled to left to put the Phillies up, 2-0.
Kazmir escaped the first with no further damage, but the inning took a toll on his pitch count as he threw 29 pitches, of which just 14 were strikes.
"Just first-inning woes every time," Kazmir said. "Everything felt good after the first inning. I had that one quick inning. I think it was the third inning. Everything was feeling good. [The] slider was feeling good, just a couple of tough pitches that didn't go my way. But that's baseball."
GAME 5 SUSPENSION
|Commissioner Selig cited rule 4.12(a)(6) in explaining the suspension of Game 5. According to the rule, enacted for the 2007 season, any official game halted with the score tied "shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date."
In this scenario, rule 4.12(c) for suspended games is enacted: "A suspended game shall be resumed at the exact point of suspension of the original game. The completion of a suspended game is a continuation of the original game. The lineup and batting order of both teams shall be exactly the same as the lineup and batting order at the moment of suspension, subject to the rules governing substitution. Any player may be replaced by a player who had not been in the game prior to the suspension. No player removed before the suspension may be returned to the lineup."
Prior to 1980, a game called due to inclement weather would have reverted back to the beginning of the inning, with the Phillies leading, 2-1, since Philadelphia did not bat in the bottom of the inning. In 1980, the "reverting back" was discontinued and the game was henceforth declared a suspended game. Rule 4.12(a)(6) was added after the 2006 season so that any game suspended after becoming official would be declared a suspended game. Therefore, Game 5 will resume with the score tied at 2.
Meanwhile, Phillies starter Cole Hamels got off to a strong start with three scoreless frames in which he allowed just one hit and one walk, giving him the same confident look that he put on display in his Game 1 win.
The Rays finally got something going in the fourth from a pair of dormant sluggers. Pena doubled off the right-field wall with one out to break an 0-for-31 combined slump by Pena and Longoria. Longoria then drove a ball just past shortstop Rollins' outstretched glove to score Pena and cut the Phillies' lead to 2-1.
"I've been feeling fine the whole time," said Pena. "I think it's wrong to assume that when things don't go a hitter's way, that as a hitter, you're feeling bad at the plate."
Kazmir walked Howard and Burrell to start the Phillies fifth, and Rays manager Joe Maddon called to the bullpen for Grant Balfour. But before he could take his first warmup pitch, members of the Phillies' grounds crew took to the field with sacks of Diamond Dry that were applied to the puddles forming on the field.
Balfour managed to get the Rays out of the jam, retiring Victorino on a flyout before getting Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz on groundouts to first.
"I thought it was back in Beaumont, Texas, 1985," Maddon said. "We played a game like that when I was with the Midland Angels. The last out was made on a rooster tail to the shortstop. So I really thought it was going to end that same way tonight, somehow. We really enjoyed the challenge, and once again, we rose to it and I'm proud of the way our guys handled the whole moment."
Pena is hoping the change of pace caused by the suspended game will change the Rays' fortunes.
"It's a game of inches," Pena said. "And sometimes things don't go your way. And what I'm thinking about is that hopefully things will start to go our way."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.