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|The A's are off to a good start, but they're still waiting for guys like Brett Anderson.|
In the 2013 rulebook, Rule 4.12 (b) (4) states that in such instances the game can be suspended at that moment -- Royals leading by two runs, bases loaded, no outs -- and completed at another date. There is a wrinkle. If it’s the last time the two teams will be playing each other in the season, then the game would revert back to the last full inning played. The Royals led by two, but if the umpires ruled for a suspended game, the Cardinals would win, 2-1. That new rule would have given Wacha his first win as well.
By waiting and waiting out the rain, the officials kept the Cardinals from winning in the rulebook after the Royals took the lead on the field.
“The way the rule reads had it ended as a suspended game, it would have reverted back and the Cardinals would have been the victors because they were ahead at the end of the previous inning,” crew chief Joe West said after the game. “In all cases when it’s the last trip in, the umpires make every effort to get the game played in its entirety so that the game itself determines the outcome.”
West’s crew is due to call an afternoon game at Wrigley Field this afternoon. For the five hours the delay persisted, a limousine waited outside of Busch Stadium, ready to drive the umpires to Chicago. West said his crew would “worry about that game when we get to that one.”
The umpires contacted league officials for advice and to discuss their approach. The Cardinals also contacted the league office to determine what they could do. The answer was essentially to wait and wait and wait because the Royals rallied in the top of the ninth.
The delay started at 10:32 p.m.
The game resumed at 3:04 a.m.
“There’s no real protest to file,” Matheny said. “It’s a game that is in the hands of the umpires to determine if it could be played, and apparently it was.”
Said Francoeur: “We owe Joe (West) a lot of credit for sticking through this with us tonight and giving us an opportunity. Major League Baseball changed a rule this year and maybe this game will make them think how to do it again. But you’ve got no choice. Joe knew, A, we’d been struggling and, B, when you come back and do that it’s not fair to the team to just can the game and go back to the last inning.”
The win was only the Royals’ fifth in their past 20 games and it ended an eight-game losing streak. The umpires and Royals officials twice checked on the condition of the field during the lengthy delay. When the rain slowed, several Royals players, who obviously had a vested interest in finishing the game, helped the grounds crew ready the field. The crew drew praise from the Royals, umps and Cardinals for getting a soaked field in playing condition.
The whole situation drew a warning from Matheny, who did go to the Royals officials to make clear what was possible because of the delay and field conditions.
“I explained to the other team too that if this comes down to one of my guys getting hurt, it’s a big deal,” Matheny said. “They got it to where we could play.”
The addition of Brett, if only on an interim basis, is sure to prove immensely popular in Kansas City where he's a revered link to the Royals' successful past. He's in the Royals' front office as vice president of baseball operations and annually serves as a hitting instructor during spring training.
The move also tends to reduce pressure on Yost, who has been under intense scrutiny during the Royals' recent slide in which they've lost 19 of their last 23 games including the last eight in a row.
No further staff changes are planned, according to Moore.
"This is the last move we're making," he said.