NEW YORK — One of the attractions of baseball is that you never can be quite sure what is going to happen when you come to the park on a given night. But the events at Yankee Stadium on Sunday were beyond unusual.
The 8 p.m. game did not start until 8:45 because of the threat of rain. The tarp was down, but nary a drop fell.
In the sixth inning, actual rain came and the game was delayed for 37 minutes. When play started again, four minutes (and two outs) elapsed before it started pouring again and the umpires stopped play.
This time the delay lasted 45 minutes before the game was called at 12:10 a.m.
During the delay, there was a bolt of lightning that seemed right over the stadium. The resulting clap of thunder was so loud that several players scattered from their respective dugouts. One sports columnist (OK, it was our man Dan Shaughnessy) nearly ducked under a table in the press box. Trust me, you would have, too. It was that loud.
As puddles formed in the outfield, the game was mercifully called.
“Three rain delays, a fake one and two real ones,” David Ortiz said. “What else can you do? Stick around and see how things are going to end.”
At 35-23, the Red Sox are 12 games over .500 for the third time this season. They dropped the Yankees (31-25) into third place in the American League East. New York has lost seven of its last eight games.
The Sox are 4-2 against the Yankees this season, outscoring them, 32-15, and winning two series, both in New York.
“That’s how you get yourself closer to the playoffs, winnings series, winning series, winning series. At the end of the season, you say, ‘Wow, we’re in the playoffs,’ ” Ortiz said.
Monday is a well-earned day off for the Red Sox, who were 13-7 in a stretch of 20 games in as many days in five cities. They open a three-game series with the Texas Rangers on Tuesday at Fenway Park. The Rangers have the best record in the American League at 35-21 and swept three games from the Sox in Texas from May 3-5.
A few notes:
• Clay Buchholz gets credit for a shutout ("That's awesome," he said) after going five innings and allowing two hits. He is 8-0 with a MLB-best 1.62 ERA after 11 starts. The Sox are 10-1 in the games he has started.
Buchholz has the lowest ERA after 11 starts for a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez had a 1.44 after 11 starts in 2001.
“I’m just trying to ride the wave. It’s been fun,” Buchholz said. “Once you get complacent with it, that’s when it turns. So I’m trying to do everything the same in between each start.”
• Ortiz and Jose Iglesias hit home runs and both were impressive. Iglesias lined a hanging fastball well into the seats in left field. He has reached base safely in 15 of 16 games this season and is hitting .434 with a 1.041 OPS. Sixteen games and 53 at-bats is a small sample size to be certain, but there seems to be something to the idea that Iglesias is motivated and focused in the majors in ways he is not in the minors.
Ortiz hit a boomer of a home run in the sixth inning, the blast going to right field. Bald Vinny Milano, leader of the Bleacher Creatures, wrote on Twitter that it was the third ball he has seen fly that far at the Stadium. He would know.
Ortiz also flipped his bat so far he should throw the javelin for the Dominican Republic in the next Olympics.
Ortiz has now hit at least 10 home runs in each season since 2000. Only Paul Konerko and Alex Rodriguez can potentially join him. Konerko has five this season and A-Rod has yet to play. Big Papi also has 36 RBIs in 39 games. Next time he's in New York it should be for the All-Star Game.
• Andrew Miller was called into the game and officially gets credit for an appearance even through he didn't throw a pitch.
• Sunday’s game was the 906th Dustin Pedroia has played at second base for the Sox, tying Marty Barrett for third in team history. Only Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr (1,852 from 1937-51) and Hobe Ferris (983 from 1901-07) have played more at the position. Pedroia has started the first 58 games of the season. The last Red Sox second baseman to do that was Barrett in 1988. He started the first 66 games that season.
Wow, what a night. Time to head for the 4 train at 1:30 a.m. Thanks for reading, everybody.