Angels pitcher Jered Weaver requests a towel as rain falls in the fourth… (Gail Burton / Associated…)
BALTIMORE — A controversial decision by the umpires to continue playing through heavy rain in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday night could lead to the Angels suffering an abreviated 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards.
A steady drizzle from the third inning on turned into a downpour shortly after Josh Hamilton’s solo home run to right field tied the score, 2-2, in the top of the sixth. Albert Pujols singled, but Orioles starter Freddy Garcia retired the next three batters to preserve the tie.
As the grounds crew raked a drying agent into the dirt around the infield, mound and home plate between innings, Angels starter Jered Weaver waited in the dugout while plate umpire Joe West huddled with the rest of the crew.
Had the game gone into a delay at that point, neither team would have had an advantage if play was unable to continue. It would have been a suspended game that would have been completed on another day.
But West then waved Weaver to the mound for the bottom of the sixth, and with the infield dirt turned into a mush of mud and puddles, the Orioles scored twice to take a 4-2 lead, after which West called for the grounds crew to cover the infield.
Because the Angels were trailing and had come to bat at least five times, the game would be considered official — with the Orioles winning — if the teams are unable to resume play Monday night.
[UPDATED, 7:35 p.m.: Play is schedule to resume in Camden Yards at about 8 p.m. PDT.]
It should be noted, though, that West’s crew also worked the May 31 game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals that was delayed for 4 1/2 hours because of rain and was completed at 3:14 a.m. local time.
Nate McLouth sparked Baltimore’s sixth-inning rally with a bunt single and a stolen base. Manny Machado flared a single to right, with McLouth holding until he was sure the ball wouldn’t be caught. But Hamilton over-charged and the ball rolled under his glove for an error, allowing McLouth to score.
Nick Markakis hit a bloop single to left to advance Machado to third, and Adam Jones, who hit a two-run homer to left in the fourth, hit a sacrifice fly to right for a 4-2 lead. Chris David grounded into a fielder’s choice, and the game went into a delay.
The Angels scored in the third inning on Mike Trout’s home run to right. As of 9:20 p.m. EDT, it was still pouring, with thunder and lightning, in Camden Yards.
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