Grounds crew workers throw down a drying agent as the Philadelphia Phillies’ Pat Burrell waits for his hat and glove after the fifth inning of Game 5 of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays in Philadelphia Monday.AP PHOTO
PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Phillies call Cole Hamels “Hollywood.”
He received mixed reviews in the latest episode of the World Series picture.
Hamels battled through six gritty innings Monday before whipping winds and hard, steady rains forced the suspension of Game 5 with the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays tied at 2-2 entering the bottom of the sixth inning.
“It will be resumed when I believe that weather conditions are appropriate,” baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. “I can’t tell you tonight when we’ll resume.”
That could mean today or even Wednesday, as rain remains in the forecast for the Philadelphia area. Selig suggested it will likely be picked up at an 8 p.m. starting time.
The Phillies, already up 3-1 in the series and looking to clinch the second World Championship in their history, sent their ace Hamels to the mound in hopes of wrapping up the title.
“I call him ‘Hollywood,’ because when the lights are on, he’s at his best,” Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said.
When the skies darkened, though, Hamels looked pretty average.
The Rays tied the game against him in the top of the sixth, removing the possibility of a rain-shortened clincher for the Phils.
B.J. Upton reached base on a two-out single that skidded through a soupy infield and kicked off the glove of shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Upton stole second base while sliding through the muck, then scored the run that evened the game at 2-2 by sogging his way home on a single to left by Carlos Pena.
That was uplifting to the Rays, who watched hitting stars Pena and Evan Longoria collect their first hits of the World Series.
In fact, those came back-to-back in the fourth inning, as Pena drove a double off the right field wall and rode home when Longoria smacked an RBI single to center - cutting the Phillies lead to 2-1.
The Phillies, looking for their second series title and first since 1980, struck quickly.
Jayson Werth and Pat Burrell drew walks and Chase Utley was hit by a pitch in the first inning as the Phillies filled the bases with two outs.
Shane Victorino followed by clubbing a two-run single to left field, giving the Phillies a quick 2-0 lead.
That may have been enough for Hamels on a dry day.
“Every time he goes out, I expect he’s going to win the game,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said earlier in the series. “He’s capable of shutting teams out, he’s capable of throwing no-hitters at times.”
Hamels did neither in Game 5, after holding Tampa at bay while winning the series opener.
Named the MVP of the National League Championship Series after winning twice against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hamels held Tampa Bay to three hits over Monday’s first five innings.
But bothered by the worsening elements, Hamels struggled a bit in the sixth after getting the first two outs. Then Upton scratched out a second run for the Rays, and immediately after the top of the sixth ended, the teams headed to their clubhouses.
“Had the forecast held, we would have been OK,” said Selig, noting he had trepidations about even starting the game. “The winds changed, things happened.”
Selig said he’ll monitor the weather constantly through today and even Wednesday before making a decision when to resume it. Selig also promised fans plenty of advance notice – or at least a few hours – before it begins again.
“This is tricky,” Selig said. “The weather, it just keeps changing. We’ll bend over backwards to be sensitive to the Phillies fans, who have been tremendous. But we’re not going to resume until we have decent weather conditions.”