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Published: Tuesday, 10/28/2008

Rays battle to tie before rain halts Game 5

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton scores the tying run on an RBI single by Carlos Pena before Carlos Ruiz can snag the throw in the sixth inning. Minutes later, the Phillies' grounds crew rolled out the tarp. The game was suspended less than an hour later. Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton scores the tying run on an RBI single by Carlos Pena before Carlos Ruiz can snag the throw in the sixth inning. Minutes later, the Phillies' grounds crew rolled out the tarp. The game was suspended less than an hour later.
CHRIS O'MEARA / AP Enlarge

PHILADELPHIA - Game 5 of the World Series was suspended because of rain in the sixth inning last night with the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays tied at 2 and the field already a sloppy, soggy mess.

"I can't tell you tonight when we'll resume," commissioner Bud Selig said. "We'll stay here if we have to celebrate Thanksgiving here."

It might be a day or two, at least, before the Phillies get a chance to wrap up their first championship since 1980. Philadelphia leads three games to one.

There has never been a rain-shortened game in Series history. Whenever this one resumes, it will pick up right where it left off, with the Phils about to bat in the bottom of the sixth.

"The weather tomorrow is supposed to be worse," said Bob DuPuy, MLB's chief operating officer.

Carlos Pena hit a tying, two-out single in the sixth for the Rays, and the umpires called it moments later. By then, every ball and every pitch had become an adventure because of the miserable conditions.

If Pena had not tied it, Selig said he would not have let the Phillies win with a game that was called after six innings.

"It's not a way to end a World Series," he said. "I would not have allowed a World Series to end this way."

Today was supposed to be a travel day, if necessary. Instead, the teams will stay in Philadelphia and then head back to Tropicana Field if the Rays win. The delay, however, forced the Rays to find a new hotel in the area.

About 10 minutes after the game was officially suspended, an announcement was made at Citizens Bank Park telling fans wrapped in plastic sheets they were done for the night. By then, many had fled their seats for cover.

The game began in light rain, but Selig said MLB was optimistic it could get it in. Quickly, however, the showers turned to a steady downpour and the field became a quagmire.

By the middle innings, the grounds crew was running shuttles onto the field, carrying bags of a drying agent - baseball's version of cat litter - to absorb the water.

No luck.

A puddle formed on home plate and umpire Jeff Kellogg resorted to using a towel rather than the usual whisk broom to wipe it clean.

Batters kept blinking back the rain drops and pitchers struggled with their footing. Strong gusts dropped the wind-chill factor into the 30s, and fielders covered their bare hands between pitches.

All-star shortstop Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies chased a popup all over and dropped it for a tough error in the fifth, then bobbled a ball while trying to make a throw.

Shane Victorino had a two-run single in the first for the Phillies.

Evan Longoria pulled the Rays to 2-1 with an RBI single against Philadelphia ace Cole Hamels. The grounds crew came out several times to try to keep the field playable before the game was halted.

Hamels, 4-0 with a 1.55 postseason ERA coming in, was bidding to become the first pitcher to win five starts in a postseason. He allowed five hits in five innings.

In a rematch of Game 1 starters, Scott Kazmir lasted just four-plus innings, allowing four hits and six walks - the highest total for a Series pitcher in 11 years. Grant Balfour relieved with two on and retired three straight batters.

Philadelphia had plenty of chances to break the game open but stranded nine runners in the first six innings, increasing its Series total to 45. The Phillies were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving them at 8-for-55 (.145) in the Series.

Hamels breezed through the first three innings, needing just 33 pitches to Kazmir's 57. Tampa Bay had just two runners, with Dioner Navarro reaching on a two-out walk in the second and Akinori Iwamura hitting a two-out single in the third.

Iwamura flied into a stiff wind blowing in from left leading off the game, and Carl Crawford followed with a low liner that Rollins reached down for only to have the ball roll out of his glove. Crawford, who hesitated briefly when he thought the ball was going to be caught, was just thrown out at first, and B.J. Upton followed with a groundout.

While Hamels needed seven pitches to get through the first inning, Kazmir labored with 29.

Jayson Werth walked with one out and Chase Utley was hit by a pitch. After Ryan Howard struck out, a walk to Pat Burrell loaded the bases for Victorino, who hadn't driven in a run during the first four games.

Victorino got ahead 2-0 in the count, took a strike, then lined the next pitch into left field. Pedro Feliz singled, reloading the bases, but Carlos Ruiz flied out.



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