Monday, April 28, 2008

Orioles and White Sox Will Play Again

CHICAGO -- The game is over. Or is it? The Orioles and White Sox played 11 innings in a driving rainstorm on Monday before the umpires had to step in and suspend the game due to unplayable field conditions. Baltimore tied the game in the ninth inning, and both teams traded runs in the 11th before the game was suspended with a 3-3 tie.

There is no proposed makeup date as of yet, but the teams eventually will play from the point at which the game was stopped. The Orioles return to Chicago, but not to play the White Sox. The game eventually may be replayed to its conclusion at U.S. Cellular Field or in Camden Yards, but there is no official word as to how it will happen.

"Unfortunately, we leave here without winning the game [and] without losing the game," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. "We have to make it up later on, I guess. I'm amazed at the approach that we take. We don't give in. I know we made some mistakes today, [but] we battled through it [and] we came back. The guys believe in each other."

The start of the game was delayed by two hours, six minutes due to rain, and the umpiring crew eventually tried to get as much in before the weather made it impossible. Both starting pitchers complained about the conditions after the game, but the field held up well until the late innings, when the close nature of the game compelled both sides to try to finish it at all costs.

"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," said umpire crew chief Rick Reed. "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."

Both teams had their chances to win, and the Orioles continued their strange mastery of All-Star closer Bobby Jenks. Jenks held a one-run lead when the ninth inning started, but he wound up with his third blown save in his last five games against Baltimore. Five of his 14 blown saves have been against the Orioles, and two of those have come this season.

Leadoff man Brian Roberts started the game-tying rally with a double in the ninth inning, and he stole third base easily to give the Orioles an easy chance to drive him in. Third baseman Melvin Mora singled him in for Baltimore (14-11), which has had 12 games, including four of its last six, decided in the seventh inning or later.

"I think when we come in those kinds of situations," said Trembley of the late heroics, "I think the guys just feel like they're going to win and they can do whatever they have to do to get it done. Even guys that are taking 0-for-4's or making mistakes or haven't contributed at all, they are all right behind each other. And I think there's something to be said for that."

The White Sox had an excellent chance to take control in the 10th, but they missed the bunt on an attempted squeeze play. Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez homered in the 11th to give the road team a lead, but infielder Juan Uribe homered to tie the game off Baltimore closer George Sherrill, who had successfully converted his first nine saves.

"I'm just glad we didn't lose," Sherrill said. "It's kind of tough to start a game in the 12th ... whenever it happens. We're just going to have to come out, strap it on. I guess if it's here, then it could be five minutes and you're gone. But I just hate that now it's up in the air. We could have been out of here with a win with a really good road trip, but oh well."

"A lot of ups and downs," added Roberts, who reached base twice on Monday. "A lot of thinking that you're going to win, and then thinking you're going to lose and then flipping around. It was an exciting game to be a part of. It was fun. When you get over the cold and rain and just look at the game itself, it was a fun game to be a part of."

Daniel Cabrera, who has pitched into the seventh inning and allowed two earned runs or fewer in four straight starts, endured a wild day on the mound. The right-hander walked seven batters, but he managed to strand two runners on base in three of the six innings he completed. Cabrera hadn't walked that many batters since May 2006.

Designated hitter Aubrey Huff gave the Orioles a one-run lead with a solo homer in the second inning, and Cabrera stranded runners at third base in the fourth and fifth. The White Sox didn't get on the board until left fielder Carlos Quentin homered in the sixth inning, and they didn't threaten to take the lead until Cabrera walked the leadoff man in the seventh.

"Every time you get the ball, it's like you have a rock in your hand," Cabrera said of the conditions. "The first thing that I was trying for was [to] get deep in the game. ... I walked a couple of people but still made the pitches, got the ground ball and got people out."

The White Sox bunted their leadoff man to second base in the seventh, and Trembley ordered an intentional walk on Jim Thome. Trembley went to the bullpen after that, but right-handed reliever Chad Bradford allowed a run-scoring single to Paul Konerko. Trembley burned two more relievers to get out of the jam, setting up the late-inning drama.

Chicago starter Javier Vazquez matched Cabrera all the way, pitching through the eighth inning. Baltimore managed just four hits off Vazquez and never reached scoring position against him after the second inning. Center fielder Adam Jones made it to third base in the 10th, but the White Sox threw behind him and managed to tag him out.

Huff was called out on a bang-bang play at first base in the 10th, and he was ejected for arguing the call. The replay appeared to confirm Huff beat a throw from second base, and he wasn't apologetic after the game.

"Let's just put it this way: I've never been more angry in my life in baseball," he said.

"It's a typical get-away game, I guess," said Trembley. "Those things happen on get-away day. But there's something to be learned from all of it. Like I told our guys, I thought they played their butts off. They don't give up."


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