Wet, wild, no winner

Rain, rain won't go away

game called, to resume TBA

Orioles 3, White Sox 3, suspended, 11 inn.

April 29, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

CHICAGO -- The madness started with a 2-hour, 6-minute rain delay. Before it was pronounced over, both closers had blown saves, two players who started the game on the bench had hit extra-inning home runs, and both teams had missed opportunities to score the potential winning run because of costly decision making.

And a winner still hadn't been decided.

The Orioles-Chicago White Sox series finale at frigid and rainy U.S. Cellular Field was suspended yesterday with the game tied at 3 after the bottom of the 11th inning.

The Orioles had tied the score at 2 in the ninth on Melvin Mora's single off All-Star closer Bobby Jenks. They took a lead in the 11th on Ramon Hernandez's home run but gave it back in the bottom of the inning when Juan Uribe homered off Orioles closer George Sherrill, who suffered his first blown save in 10 chances.

"It's baseball," Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts said. "This game is crazy. You never know what's going to happen."

Crew chief Rick Reed ruled that the field, which resembled a quagmire by game's end, had become unplayable and that the game will have to be picked up where it left off at a date and place to be determined. The White Sox are at Camden Yards the last week in August.

"This is the last time the Orioles and the White Sox meet here, so it was up to us to make every effort to get the game in, which I think we did by playing 11 innings," Reed said. "We feel that we gave them every chance to do that. Unfortunately, they kept tying the game up and nobody could win in regulation. And then the field just became unplayable.

"The White Sox put 2 1/2 tons of drying agent on the field today. ... The water was all rising to the top after you took the quick-dry stuff off. For instance, on Roberts' steal of third base in the ninth inning, he just went splash. He wasn't going to get all that stuff out of him until he showered, I'm sure."

Several Orioles said the conditions were the worst they've played in.

"Hands down," said Aubrey Huff, who was ejected in the 10th by first base umpire Mark Wegner for arguing a call at first base that replays showed Huff was safe. "The infield looked like a Slip 'N Slide."

Said Orioles manager Dave Trembley: "I thought it got a little sloppy toward the end, probably a little more so than necessary."

Asked if he believed the game should have even began, Trembley said: "Not my call. It's the umpires' call."

Hernandez, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the eighth, wasn't pleased with the sequence of events, from start to stop.

"I don't think the game should've been started," he said. "It was really cold and rainy. The field was wet. You can hurt the pitcher. A guy can pull a hamstring because you never get warmed up. After [11] innings, why are you stopping the game now? You should finish like that. ... We shouldn't have started from the beginning."

The White Sox took a 2-1 lead in the seventh on Paul Konerko's one-out single off Chad Bradford, scoring Nick Swisher. He had reached on a leadoff walk, one of seven issued by starter Daniel Cabrera, who struggled with his footing on the wet mound.

The Orioles had been dominated for eight innings by Javier Vazquez, who allowed only Huff's home run and retired 17 of the final 20 hitters he faced. Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen brought in Jenks for the ninth, and Roberts laced his first pitch down the left-field line for a double. He then stole third on Jenks' next pitch and scored on Melvin Mora's single. It was Jenks' third blown save in his past five appearances against the Orioles.

The Orioles had the first opportunity to win it in the 10th after Adam Jones hit a two-out double. Brandon Fahey followed with a slow roller that shortstop Orlando Cabrera fielded. However, with no play at first, Cabrera threw to third and caught Jones too far off the bag.

In the bottom of the inning, the White Sox's Brian Anderson tried to lay down a squeeze bunt with Carlos Quentin on third and one out. However, Anderson tipped the bunt attempt back in Hernandez's mitt for a strike, and the Orioles catcher then ran down Quentin and tagged him out, ending that threat.

Hernandez broke the tie with a leadoff homer off Scott Linebrink in the 11th, only to watch Uribe tie it again in the bottom of the inning, bashing Sherrill's hanging curveball to lead off the inning.

With a victory, the Orioles would have finished the road trip with a 4-3 record and some momentum heading home to face the Tampa Bay Rays in a surprise matchup for first place in the American League East.

"I just hate that now it's up in the air," said Sherrill, who retired A.J. Pierzynski with two men on to end the 11th. "We could have been out of here with a win with a really good road trip, but, oh well. ... I guess we'll see ... what we do."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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