Rain delay made for a long night in St. Louis

(AP) — The Royals and Cardinals should have known something was up when the first pitch was delayed an hour by rain.

The game moved quickly after that –
right up until the top of the ninth inning, with the Royals leading and
the rain back in force. Umpire crew chief Joe West had a decision to
make.

With the game the last one between the
two teams this season, a new rule added this year allowed West to call
the game in a decision that would wipe out the top of the ninth and give
the Cardinals a 2-1 win, based on the score from the previous completed
inning.

West chose to wait out the rain. And
wait. And wait some more. After 4 1/2 miserable hours, the game resumed
shortly after 3 a.m. CDT and the final out came at 3:14 a.m. Kansas City
left for a series in Texas and the Cardinals went home to sleep a bit
before a home series against San Francisco.

The umpiring crew? They had a matinee in Chicago, with the first pitch scheduled just 10 hours after the final out in St. Louis.

“We worry about that game when we get to that one,” West told reporters. “We had to worry about this game.”

Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum shrugged off any concerns about sleep-deprived umpires calling Friday’s game against Arizona.

“Sometimes we get in at 3:15 in the
morning . they don’t have to get to the park that early, so they get
plenty of sleep,” he said of the umpires. “That’s not something that’s
going to dictate the game.”

The near-capacity crowd of 43,916 was down to a couple hundred hardy souls when the game ended.

“I wasn’t sure we were going to get
that game in, and to lose in that fashion after coming back in the ninth
inning wouldn’t have been right,” said Royals manager Ned Yost, whose
team snapped an eight-game skid with the victory. “I credit Joe West for
hanging in there. I credit their grounds crew for getting the field
playable.”

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and
general manager John Mozeliak lobbied during the delay for an
eight-inning St. Louis win. Matheny said the field was “bad.”

“And I thought our grounds crew did a
tremendous job,” Matheny added. “This comes down to one of my guys
getting hurt, it’s a big deal.”

West said the Cardinals did not express their frustrations to him directly, made no statement and did not lodge a protest.