Royals survive rain delays, but not LaPorta's first grand slam
SEP 19, 2010 1:12a ET
By DOUG TUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Sounds like a relaxing night for the Cleveland Indians.
Play a little baseball, come in and watch a little TV. Play a little more baseball, come back in for a little more TV.
Finally, more than 6 hours and four rain delays after the game was scheduled to begin, the Indians made Matt LaPorta's grand slam stand up for a 6-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on a rainy, stormy Saturday night.
"Four rain delays. Unbelievable," Cleveland outfielder Trevor Crowe said.
The delays totaled 3 hours, 40 minutes. The game itself took 2 hours, 57 minutes. One delay lasted only 2 minutes.
"I have not seen a 2-minute rain delay. That was a first for me," Crowe said.
The game, scheduled for a 6:10 p.m. start, did not end until 12:47 a.m.
The crowd had thinned out so much by the eighth inning the cleaning crew was already at work in the upper deck.
"There wasn't anybody up there so it was good they could get a head start," Crowe said.
LaPorta's grand slam off Sean O'Sullivan (2-6) gave Cleveland a 5-0 lead in the fourth. Then Jai Miller and Mike Aviles hit two-run homers for Kansas City in the fifth off Justin Germano.
Joe Smith (2-2), the third of six Cleveland pitchers, pitched one inning and gave up two hits but no runs and was the winner. Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 25 opportunities.
"It was just a miserable night with all the delays," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We start to get a little momentum with the four runs and then it rains and you go back out and try to get something going and then it rains. It was just a miserable night."
During the delays, the Indians came in and watched football.
"Lots of football watching, and not much else," said Justin Masterson, who started and went 3 1-3 innings. "Everyone was watching the football games, every single one that's on. And a few card games. Try to wonder why the game's not called sooner than it is."
O'Sullivan retired the first nine batters but seemed to lose something during the 2-minute delay. Michael Brantley singled leading off the fourth, stretching his hitting streak to 18 games, then Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo singled.
Brantley scored on Choo's single and Shelly Duncan's single loaded the bases for LaPorta. The 25-year-old first baseman hit O'Sullivan's 2-1 pitch over the fence in center for Cleveland's second slam in two days off the struggling Kansas City staff.
It was the 11th loss in 15 games for KC and dropped the last-place Royals 1 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central.
"Kid's been struggling. He's just had two days off to get his head clear and rest a little bit and came up big for us," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said.
Acta admitted he'd never seen a 2-minute rain delay.
"I just saw the guys wanting to come on and cover the field with a tarp and the umpire pushing them back," he said. "But we played nine innings and no one got hurt. That's the main thing."
Brantley's 18-game streak is the longest current run in the majors and the longest by a Cleveland rookie since Larry Doby hit in 21 straight in 1948.
Germano replaced starter Justin Masterson after a delay of 1 hour, 23 minutes with one out in the fourth. He hit Lucas May leading off the bottom of the fifth and Miller slammed an 0-2 pitch for his first major league home run.
The next batter, Jarrod Dyson, doubled off the wall and Aviles slammed an offering from Germano 409 feet for another two-run shot that pared the lead to 5-4 as light rain began again to fall.
Jayson Nix's RBI single made it 6-4 in the eighth.
Germano went 2 2-3 innings and gave up four runs on three hits and one hit batter.
O'Sullivan went four innings and was charged with five runs and six hits.
The first three delays, including 36 minutes to start, had totaled 2 hours, 1 minute when play was halted after the Royals made the final out in the sixth. The game was resumed after another wait of 1 hour, 39 minutes.
NOTES: Brantley's 18-game streak is the longest by an Indian since Casey Blake hit in 26 straight in May-June 2007. ... If the Indians win on Sunday and sweep the Royals, KC will get a chance to climb back out of the cellar in a four-game series in Cleveland Sept. 23-27. It will be the Royals' last road series of the season. ... Dyson made an outstanding leaping catch at the wall in center field of Duncan's drive in the fifth.
Updated September 18, 2010