Wrigley Grounds Crew Aids Cubs In Win Over SF
The San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs played 4 1/2 innings in 6 hours, 9 minutes. And when the game was finally called early Wednesday morning, they still hoped to play some more.
An unplayable field following a downpour led to the game being called off at 1:16 a.m. The teams had played just enough on Tuesday night for the Cubs to earn a rain-shortened 2-0 victory.
The field conditions got so bad partly because the grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp on when the storm hit.
The game was delayed a total of 4 hours, 34 minutes, and fewer than 1,000 fans remained at the finish.
Anthony Rizzo slammed a two-run homer, and Tsuyoshi Wada pitched five strong innings to send the Cubs to victory.
“We tried to wait as long as we could,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Because the Giants were in a pennant race, we felt an obligation to do that. I talked with the umpires a lot and (president) Theo (Epstein) talked with MLB to come up with a way to play this game the way it should be played.
“Obviously, that didn’t happen, and it’s unfortunate.”
Nonetheless, the Giants believed they had sufficient reason for a “probable” protest, according to a team official. They lost for the seventh time in 10 games to fall 4 1/2 games behind Los Angeles in the NL West race.
“I hope they listen and watch what happened there,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who was visibly upset. “In this day and time, it shouldn’t happen. It can’t happen with the importance of these games. I’m going to leave it at that.”
When the rain and the wind intensified in the middle of the fifth inning, home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt stopped play. The grounds crew couldn’t get the manual tarp fully in place, leaving large portions of the infield exposed to the downpour for more than 10 minutes.
Because a mechanical problem wasn’t at issue, there was no provision to pick up the game at a later date.
“The problem that all the parties faced was, in the baseball rulebook, there was nothing to put our hat on to suspend the game,” Wendelstedt told a pool reporter. “The game became regulation with the home team winning in the top of the fifth inning. There was really no way around it.”
After the rain eased up, it took nearly 1 1/2 hours for workers to remove water from the soggy infield and spread dozens of bags of compound on the dirt area.
“The one thing that everybody has to be cognizant of is, you don’t want any of those guys to get hurt – period,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “As a former infielder, I can tell you the footing was going to be pretty bad.”
Rookie Javier Baez walked with one out against Ryan Vogelsong in the first inning before Rizzo homered over the right-field bleachers, his 29th of the season. Of his 23 homers since May 8, 13 gave the Cubs the lead and two others tied games. He also had a single.
San Francisco had at least one hit in each inning but was 1 of 10 with runners on base. Angel Pagan and Joaquin Arias had a single and a double apiece.
Wada (3-1) scattered six hits and walked none in his third consecutive victory.
Vogelsong (7-9) allowed three hits and two walks in four innings.
Chicago began a stretch of 34 consecutive games against postseason contenders that will close the season.
“These guys are going out there every single day to show teams that they belong with them,” Renteria said.
Baez projects to a middle-of-the-order hitter, but there was no plan to move him out of the No. 2 hole anytime soon.
“He’s 21 years old and we can have him in a situation with a very good hitter in Anthony Rizzo behind him to give him protection,” Renteria said. “I have to see all these guys a little bit more to get a feel for them and how they adjust.”
Giants: The status of C Hector Sanchez is on hold after he sustained his second concussion of the season last Saturday while on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno. 2B Joe Panik is day-to-day because of a dislocated left pinkie. He was injured on a head-first slide against Philadelphia last Sunday.
Cubs: Top prospect Kris Bryant returned to the lineup with a double and a walk in four plate appearances for Triple-A Iowa. The third baseman sat out one game and was limited to a pinch-hitting role in another because of a bruised left foot.
UP NEXT: In a matchup of veteran right-handers, the Giants’ Jake Peavy (1-3, 3.86) will oppose the Cubs’ Edwin Jackson (6-13, 5.74) on Wednesday night. Peavy lost 12 of his last 13 decisions -the last nine with the Boston Red Sox. Jackson dropped six of his last seven.