Wet O's, Rangers play to 1-1 tie Game to be replayed, rain checks accepted

June 18, 1996|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

It wasn't a complete waste of time. Rafael Palmeiro extended his hitting streak to 16 games and Cal Ripken extended his consecutive-games streak to 2,219, but a torrential rainstorm flooded Camden Yards last night and forced the Orioles and Texas Rangers to settle for a 1-1 tie.

The game counts. The score was tied when play was stopped for the second time at 9: 54 p.m., with the Orioles batting in the sixth inning. The stats go into the book, but the game must be replayed in its entirety, probably on Thursday. It originally appeared the game would be made up as part of a doubleheader tonight, but after hours of negotiations, it was decided tonight's single game will take place as scheduled at 7: 35 and an announcement will be made today about the makeup game.

The crowd of 45,582 endured a miserable night and left not knowing that Orioles owner Peter Angelos would decide late last night to honor rain checks from the game. The game was official, so the club was under no obligation to exchange those tickets, but club sources said Angelos did not want fans to feel cheated, and decided to allow them to use their tickets either for the rescheduled game or a game from a list of future dates that will be announced today.

The Orioles apparently wanted to reschedule the game for Thursday night, but the terms of baseball's collective bargaining agreement allowed for the Rangers' players to vote on whether they wanted to play on the off day. They voted not to, and left the stadium last night assuming they would play a doubleheader tonight. They are expected to agree to play on Thursday afternoon, but that remains subject to a vote of approval by the Orioles' players.

Negotiations continued for hours, and involved Orioles chairman Joe Foss, general manager Pat Gillick, assistant GM Kevin Malone, manager Davey Johnson, Orioles player rep Mike Mussina and -- apparently -- American League president Gene Budig by telephone from New York.

Baseball rules call for the game to be suspended and picked up the following day if either team scores in the inning that the game is called, or if the game has to be stopped because of curfew, time limit, darkness or failure of the lighting.

The last time that the Orioles played a tie game was in 1982, when an early-season game with the Milwaukee Brewers ended under similar circumstances and had to be made up as part of the final weekend series that would decide the AL East title.

This time, it just figures to be an inconvenience for an Orioles club that played a 16-inning game on Saturday night and flew overnight following a Sunday night game in Kansas City -- which included an hour rain delay of its own with three outs to go. No one wanted to play a doubleheader tonight, but the Rangers' players had veto power over a Thursday makeup and did not want to stay over the extra day.

It was supposed to be a night of thunder. Ripken and Japanese iron man Sachio Kinugasa got a thunderous ovation when they were honored in pre-game ceremonies, and the main event of the evening featured two of the game's most explosive offensive clubs.

The Rangers entered the game ranked third in the American League with 410 runs this year and the Orioles were not far behind with 405, but Texas had dominated the season series, winning six of seven head-to-head meetings and three of four at Oriole Park.

The atmosphere was highly charged, but that was largely because of the electrical storm that crept up on Camden Yards.

The game was stopped for the first time at 8: 23 p.m. -- after the Rangers came up empty in the top of the third inning. The grounds crew removed the tarp and the game resumed 45 minutes later, though the light show continued on the other side of the B&O warehouse. The game was stopped for the second time when heavy showers struck again.

Orioles starter Scott Erickson was coming off a rocky outing last week in Detroit, where he let a three-run lead slip away and gave up seven runs over 5 1/3 innings. He was more focused last night, overcoming a couple of defensive mishaps in the early innings to carry a strong performance into the second rain delay.

Ripken committed a first-inning throwing error to put a runner in scoring position with one out, but Erickson retired Rusty Greer and dangerous Juan Gonzalez to get out of the inning.

Catcher Gregg Zaun made a throwing error in the second inning that allowed Dean Palmer to reach third with one out, but Erickson escaped again, Mark Smith making a fine running catch.

The Rangers threatened again in the third, and again Erickson was equal to it, with Roberto Alomar making a leaping catch to rob Greer of a single.

But no one was going to jump high enough to keep the Rangers off the scoreboard in the fourth. Erickson served up a line drive to Gonzalez that disappeared into the left-field bleachers.

Rangers starter Roger Pavlik entered the game on an unprecedented roll, his 9-1 record the best start ever by a Texas pitcher.

He carried a no-hit bid through four innings before an odd set of circumstances conspired to end both the no-hitter and the shutout without an Orioles hitter making good contact in the fifth.

Ripken led off with a walk and Smith took a fastball off the shoulder before Zaun bounced a chopper off home plate and reached without a throw. Brady Anderson followed with a fly ball that brought home the tying run.

That was about it. The only other important swing came from Palmeiro, who singled cleanly in the sixth to extend his team-high hitting streak, but no one knew at the time that it would be the last at-bat of the game.

Pub Date: 6/18/96

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