Brewers’ ‘storm’ not calm in defeat
Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 5:29 pm
By: By The Associated Press
A thunderous boom and a series of lightning strikes around Wrigley Field cut short the Cubs’ chance to rally for a win on a windy, rainy night. For Milwaukee, a storm was Brewing in the team’s own dugout.
The Astros withstood a wild night of weather featuring two powerful storms and two delays to beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 in a game called in the eighth inning on Monday.
In a game that featured a 2 hour, 45 minute delay and a tornado warning for downtown Chicago, it was lightning that finally sealed the game’s fate. With the thunderous crashes sounding so close, Lance Berkman rushed off the field and was not about to return under those conditions.
Seconds later, the umpires waved his Houston teammates off, as well.
“Let me say this: I’ve never been more nervous on the field in my life,” Berkman said. “I’ll stand out there in the rain storm all day long. But thunder and lightning, in that kind of proximity, it’s definitely a hazard.”
At Cincinnati, Brewers slugger Prince Fielder and pitcher Manny Parra got into a shoving match in the dugout during a 6-3 loss to the Reds.
“If you want to know what happened or what transpired — blow-by-blow or what words were said — I’m sorry, you’re not going to know,” manager Ned Yost said, his voice rising. “It’s private. It’s between us, and it’s not a big deal. And it’s not the first time it ever happened, and it won’t be the last.”
In other NL games on Monday night, it was: Washington 9, Colorado 4; Arizona 13, Pittsburgh 7; and San Francisco 4, Atlanta 2.
Bronson Arroyo (10-8) lasted six innings on a muggy night and hit a bases-loaded double for Cincinnati, leaving the Brewers with a next-to-nothing lead in the NL wild card race.
Their patience is running out, too.
After Parra (9-5) left for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, first baseman Fielder went up to him in the dugout and exchanged words. Fielder then shoved Parra twice before teammates pulled him away.
It was reminiscent of Aug. 2 last season, when manager Yost got into a heated dispute with catcher Johnny Estrada in the dugout tunnel during a loss to the Mets and players intervened. That came during a run of 10 losses in 14 games, a fade that dropped them out of first place.
There’s good reason for rising frustration.
Since they were tied with the Cubs for first place in the NL Central on July 26, the Brewers have dropped seven of nine. They got swept by the Cubs in a four-game showdown last week, and saw their lead for the wild card reduced to a half-game over idle St. Louis with their latest loss.
Fielder declined through a club spokesman to talk to the media. Parra didn’t want to talk about the altercation, either.
“Stuff happens like that all the time,” Parra said. “We’re not too concerned about it.”
Berkman was very concerned about how close the lightning seemed to be to Wrigley Field.
“Growing up in Texas, you see those kinds of storms all the time. You learn that lightning is nothing to fool around with,” he said.
The first delay came in the top of the sixth. As the initial storm hit the Chicago area, fans at Wrigley were advised to take cover on the concourse. A tornado warning was issued.
After going back out on the soggy field, the teams were able to play for only 50 minutes before Berkman led the charge off the field. Then, after a 39-minute delay, the game was finally called with one out in the bottom of the eighth.
“If they had continued the game, I wouldn’t have gone back out there. Not for a while,” Berkman said. “Like I said before the inning, you have to be an idiot to stand outside during a lightning storm. That’s just common sense.”
Berkman said he didn’t blame the umpires because they are under pressure to get games in.
“When the last one hit, it was too close, even for us, and I pulled them off. I would never put any team or player or umpire in harm’s way,” crew chief Wally Bell said.
After the first delay, the bleachers emptied and so did much of the lower and upper grandstands, although some fans stood under the overhang and rode out the storm that featured earsplitting thunder and spectacular lightning. When the brunt of the storm first hit with high winds and torrential rain, visibility at the second-oldest ballpark in the major leagues was reduced to zero.
But when the grounds crew got the field ready to resume play after the initial delay, thousands of fans returned to their seats.
Brian Moehler (7-4) allowed four hits in five shutout innings before the first delay and got the win. Ryan Dempster (12-5) took the loss despite striking out seven in five innings.
Giants 4, Braves 2
At San Francisco, Matt Cain beat the Braves for the first time in three career tries, Randy Winn doubled in a run and had three hits and the Giants beat Atlanta.
Cain (7-9) allowed one run on five hits in 62/3 innings, struck out six and walked five.
D’backs 13, Pirates 7
At Phoenix, Mark Reynolds homered and drove in three runs, Chris Young snapped an 0-for-18 skid with three hits and Arizona routed Pittsburgh.
Reynolds finished 3-for-5 and Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson, Tony Clark and Orlando Hudson each had two hits for the Diamondbacks, who recorded a season-high 18 hits and snapped a two-game losing streak.
Nationals 9, Rockies 4
At Denver, Tim Redding (8-6) settled down after a rough start to strike out six over five-plus innings and Washington won its fourth straight game.
Aaron Cook (14-7) gave up seven runs — four earned — in 52/3 innings and lost for the first time since July 6.
It was just the third time in 24 starts this season he has failed to pitch at least six innings.