NEW YORK -- When the rain started pouring with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, it came down much more abruptly and faster than anyone anticipated.
The grounds crew had a difficult time covering the field -- at one point, a member actually was trapped underneath the tarp -- and it took two attempts to adequately cover the infield. By the time the grounds crew was successful, most of the infield was already drenched with water.
"I've never seen it when it rained so hard and so fast that it weighed down the tarp, and then the mud on the infield --[the tarp] wouldn't slide," crew chief Dale Scott said. "That dual effect is what caused the issues."
Those tarp issues are what ultimately caused the Rangers-Yankees game to be called after 4 1/2 innings and a 1 hour and 49-minute rain delay, leaving New York with a 2-1 victory.
The rain stopped for a moment and the crew went to work to repair the field, and it looked as if they had created a playable field. The game was expected to restart at approximately 10:05 p.m. ET, but that was until both Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Rangers manager Ron Washington came out to walk the basepaths and quickly disapproved.
"We felt the field was not safe, and we were waiting to see what could possibly be done," Girardi said.
Washington called the field a hamstring waiting to be pulled.
"It was sinking, it was soft, it was very soft," he said. "Especially around the basepaths, around the baselines and around each bag, and you couldn't get a lead at first base unless you were a couple feet under."
After the managers voiced their disapproval, the umpire and grounds crews weighed their options on what additional work could be done. Then the rain started again and the game was officially called a short time later.
"The surface looked great," Scott said. "Underneath, though, it was just squishy."
Scott agreed that while the grounds crew did the best they could do under the circumstances, their trouble getting the tarp on quickly enough all but sealed the decision to end the game.
The Rangers, who had their ace Yu Darvish on the mound and trailed by just one run, were not happy.
"I am watching from a time zone away, but I wasn't real pleased," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "I don't think there was any intent on anybody's part. But for the way it played out, I don't think that should happen. We lost a four-inning game because of the ground situation -- that shouldn't happen."
The Yankees escaped with a victory and did not have to use their bullpen, which was exhausted by Tuesday's 14-inning affair. They have now had two games called early due to rain, including a 3-1 loss to the Orioles the day before the All-Star break.
"I guess we kind of were owed this one after what happened in Baltimore right before the break, I feel like, and it's good." Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner said. "We'll take a win any way we can get it."
Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less