Orioles, Yankees Suspended By Rain in Top of the Eighth

Paul Bako can only watch Johnny Damon score the second of two runs on Derek Jeter's single in the eighth inning on Thursday.
Paul Bako can only watch Johnny Damon score the second of two runs on Derek Jeter's single in the eighth inning on Thursday. (Joe Giza - Reuters)
By Adam Kilgore
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 29, 2007

BALTIMORE, June 28 -- With a downpour upon them and thunder crackling in the distance, Chris Ray stood on the mound Thursday night, readying to try to throw a fastball by Derek Jeter. The Baltimore Orioles' thrilling comeback -- four runs scored with hell-bent base running and clutch hitting -- had already been erased.

Now, with runners on second and third and two outs, Ray could salvage a tie. The unrelenting raindrops, some thick as grapes, were making that awfully hard. The ball was so slick, Ray could barely feel the seams. "Why aren't they stopping the game?" he thought.

They did, but not before Jeter inflicted his damage. In a game suspended by rain with the Yankees leading 8-6 in the top of the eighth, the Orioles squandered a four-run seventh by allowing a four-run eighth to the reeling Yankees. Jeter delivered the big blow, scorching a single up the middle, through the rain, that scored two runs.

He was on second base when the grounds crew started unfurling the tarp, and the rain never went away long enough to resume play. The game will be resumed, with two outs in the top of the eighth and Jeter on second, on July 27, the next date the Yankees visit Camden Yards.

"When I was on the mound getting the ball back, there was water pouring off my hand," Ray said. "After the hit, I asked [the umpire] what was going on."

The game had been stopped about 30 minutes before, after an initial burst of rain hovered over the park, and then restarted after it left. But it came back, even harder than before.

After Jeter's single, umpire crew chief Tim Tschida ejected third baseman Melvin Mora for arguing what several Orioles felt: that the game should have been halted before Jeter's single because of unplayable conditions. Orioles Manager Dave Trembley joined Mora in protest, to no avail.

"I told him, 'It's getting really wet and I can't see home plate,' " Mora said. "I didn't even know where the ball was. He just tried to make Jeter hit so they can score one run so they can get out of here. That's what I think."

The game fell under a new rule enacted this offseason, which states that if weather halts a game mid-inning it becomes suspended and resumes from that point. If the game was official (with five innings in the books) and was called after a completed inning, it would have been over.

Had the game unfolded last season, the Orioles would have won. Under the old rule, the game is taken back to the last completed inning, and the result stands.

The controversy could have been avoided, though, had the Orioles preserved the two-run lead they carried into the eighth. John Parrish entered from the bullpen and promptly walked Jorge Posada and Bobby Abreu. Ray began warming up in the bullpen, but Trembley stuck with Parrish to pitch to Melky Cabrera.

Cabrera ripped a double to the left field corner, scoring Posada and moving Abreu to third. When Robinson Cano grounded to second, scoring Abreu and tying the game at 6, the Orioles four-run rally for the lead in the seventh was for naught.

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