Yankees beat Orioles at 2:15 in the morning

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Yankees beat Orioles at 2:15 in the morning

From Comcast SportsNet Wednesday, September 7, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) -- After waiting several hours to start the game, the New York Yankees held on a few more minutes for the go-ahead run. Only 500 fans or so were left in the stands early Wednesday when the Yankees finished off a rain-delayed 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles at 2:15 a.m., helped when a video replay upheld Francisco Cervelli's tiebreaking homer. With few options left for a makeup date, the messy game began at 11:08 p.m. after a delay of 4 hours, 3 minutes with roughly 1,000 fans in the stands. The Yankees and Major League Baseball were in constant contact before the first pitch. "I guess baseball wanted us to wait," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. Umpire crew chief Gary Darling confirmed it was MLB's call on when to finally start. As for the soggy conditions, "it was never bad enough for us to stop," he said. Cervelli hit his shot in the seventh inning off Tommy Hunter (3-3). Two fans reached near the left-field wall to grab it and Orioles manager Buck Showalter argued the ball was in play. The umpires reviewed the play, then confirmed their original home-run call. "They will tell you, even though they didn't tell me, that they need indisputable evidence to overturn what the decision was on the field," Showalter said. "I haven't looked real good at it. I know what the players saw." Brett Gardner followed with a home run, and the AL East-leading Yankees won their sixth in a row. It was a sloppy affair, full of wild throws and fielding misadventures -- four errors and two wild pitches, among them. Rain fell throughout the night, whipped by gusting winds. Puddles formed and the grounds crew spent nearly as much time on the field as the players, dumping bag after bag of diamond dust in hopes of drying out the pitcher's mound, batter's box and basepaths. "The dirt was too wet, but you got to play," Cervelli said. During a 10-minute break in the fifth, the sound system played "Fixing a Hole" by the Beatles while the Yankees huddled under the dugout roof and Showalter spoke to the umpires. Baltimore left fielder Matt Angle had the most glaring problem with the tough environment. He got twisted around when Cervelli lifted a fly in the fifth, dropped the ball for an error, slipped trying to recover and wound up with mud all over the front of his uniform as a run scored. The fans had a hard time keeping their feet, too. In the fifth, two men chased a foul ball behind the plate, lost their balance on a metal walkway and splashed to the ground with a thud. They got an ovation for their effort. All fans from the announced attendance of 44,573 -- the amount of tickets sold -- were allowed to move down to the expensive seats. There was no announcement about that over the public-address system -- instead they were told individually. The Yankees also said tickets for this game could be redeemed for a free seat during the 2012 season. The game ended so late, in fact, that the announcers on the Yankees' YES television network kept reminding viewers this was live action, not a post-midnight replay. This was not, however, the longest delay at Yankee Stadium. In 2009, a game between the Yankees and Washington was held up by rain for nearly 5 hours. Several games in the majors were delayed by rain Tuesday on what was already shaping up as a difficult week for New York and the Orioles. The teams are scheduled to play again Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium, then meet in Baltimore on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. for the makeup of a previous rainout. "Doubleheaders are hard on your guys," Girardi said. "Both scenarios weren't great." Showalter echoed that sentiment as he looked ahead. "We're trying to make sure we're competitive. It's not always the people who just played in the game until 2 or 3 in the morning," he said. Cory Wade (4-0) won in relief. Mariano Rivera earned his 39th save of the season and 598th of his career. Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer for the Orioles. Chris Piteo of Springfield, Mass., was among the fans who waited out the delay. "This is my one chance to see a game here this season," he said. "It's not like I can come any day to Yankee Stadium." With him were his sister, Marcy, and her two sons, ages 12 and 10. They were all aware that Wednesday was a school day back home. "We're already discussing the options," she said with a smile. NOTES: The Yankees lead the majors with 200 home runs. ... Baltimore INF Mark Reynolds leads the majors with 27 errors. ... Chris Davis struck out on a breaking ball that bounced off his left foot, but reached first base on the wild pitch by Yankees starter Phil Hughes. ... Yankees DH Jorge Posada connected in the third inning against Hunter. His previous home run also came against Hunter, on Aug. 26. ... Reigning Miss America Teresa Scanlan sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.

Wonky streaks, good fortune over Cavs on the line for Bulls

Wonky streaks, good fortune over Cavs on the line for Bulls

No matter the metric or the occasion, the only thing definitive about the Bulls over the last two seasons has been their mystifying dominance over the Cleveland Cavaliers in head-to-head matchups.

That, and their fascinating streak of consecutive wins while playing at home on TNT, a streak that could end at 19 games Thursday night when the two teams with varying objectives clash at the United Center.

The Cavaliers are searching to find themselves, along with a light switch that will perhaps alert them to a lost defense over the past several weeks that has been worst in the league since the All-Star break.

The Bulls are searching for consistency, but since it's probably a little too late in the season for that, they'll settle for a playoff spot with eight games left.

They'll take two straight wins for the first time in a month, if they can get it.

They'll extend a goofy streak, if that’s what things will come down to.

"The big thing is obviously you have to execute very well against this Cleveland team," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "You have to go out there with great urgency, great energy. I anticipate them coming in and playing with a ton of energy tomorrow. We're going to have to match that. We're going to have to come out and play physical basketball."

Having a big break between games this late in the season is a rarity, as the Bulls have been off since Sunday evening, but it's just another weird detail in this weird Bulls experience.

An experience that the mild-mannered Hoiberg has to experience from his couch some nights, such as watching the Miami Heat furiously steal a game in Detroit at the buzzer with a Hasaan Whiteside tip-in to extend a lead over his team to a game, followed by another win Wednesday to put more distance between the two teams.

"I did, actually," said Hoiberg with a smirk when asked if he's scoreboard watching and paying attention to the teams ahead of the Bulls in the playoff race.

After being prompted to give his raw emotions when Whiteside's tip-in occurred, he slipped right back to Robo-Hoiberg — although one can imagine how animated he must've been while looking to catch a break from a previous contender for the eighth spot in the Pistons.

"It is what it is," Hoiberg said. "You have to go out and worry about yourselves at this time of year. It was a great finish for Miami, obviously, the way that game ended. But there's nothing you can do about that. You've got to worry about yourselves and hopefully go out and execute."

Going 6-1 against the Cavaliers in his two seasons as Bulls coach is probably the biggest feather in his cap, including three wins in all three meetings this go round.

The rhyme or reason doesn't seem explainable, but Nikola Mirotic seemed to give a few keys to the Bulls' success over LeBron James' Cavaliers: Sharing the ball, controlling the glass and getting back on defense.

"Against big teams, we play much better," Mirotic said. "I don't know why is the reason for that. We need to find a way to play against everybody like that. It's on us. We just have to prove it."

Usually, those tenets seem to work against most teams, not just the supremely talented champions who've just lost a grip on first place in the conference.

But their inconsistencies have left the Bulls here with a handful of games left before the April 12th finale.

A win over Cleveland could mean everything, or nothing at all, or something in between.

"Sure, we understand," Mirotic said. "We've been in a very similar situation last year. We didn’t make the playoffs so this year we want to try to make that push. I think we have a good schedule for the last. Very important game tomorrow, huge one. I think we have played very well against Cleveland until now. We have a chance. We need to get out there and play with energy." 

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