CLEVELAND — Nearly five hours worth of rain delays didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Indians fans Friday night.
Tribe reliever Scott Barnes, however, managed to throw a wet blanket on the crowd once play resumed.
Barnes allowed five runs in the third inning, including two-out homers to Matt Joyce and James Loney, as the Tampa Bay Rays broke open a scoreless contest and handed Cleveland a 9-2 loss.
The game started at 9:02 p.m. Friday and was delayed three times for a total of 4 hours, 49 minutes. Play resumed for good at 12:13 a.m. Saturday, while the final pitch was thrown at 2:53 a.m.
“After going through that long wait (in the middle of the second), that inning really took the wind out of our sails,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We were hoping to get some length from Scott to get us into the mid-part of the game, but it didn’t work out that way.
“It was a rough inning and a rough night.”
It could have been even rougher as the Tribe came perilously close to being no-hit by Rays pitchers Matt Moore, Jamey Wright, Josh Lueke and Cesar Ramos.
Ryan Raburn’s fifth-inning double off the wall was Cleveland’s lone hit — and it could have been caught by right fielder Matt Joyce, whose badly mistimed leap was borderline comical.
The only other Indians to reach base safely were Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs, who drew walks after Moore and Wright carried a perfect game into the fifth.
“Their pitchers were good, but we swung at a lot of their pitches instead of waiting for ours,” said Tribe third baseman Mark Reynolds, who went 0-for-3. “It was a weird night, but that’s part of baseball.
“I would much rather have played it tonight than have a doubleheader later in the year. Since Tampa Bay doesn’t come back here and we’re done playing there, that was the only other option.”
Moore and Cleveland starter Corey Kluber both exited when play was halted for the second time after 1½ innings. The scenario appeared to favor the Indians as Moore has been the best pitcher in the American League with an 8-0 record and 2.18 ERA.
It didn’t turn out that way, as Barnes (0-1, 7.27 ERA) was shelled for four hits, one walk and five runs in his lone inning of work. The Rays’ other four runs — topped by Loney’s second homer of the contest — came in the final two innings off Bryan Shaw and Rich Hill.
“I know my role, which is to pick up three innings if needed, but it didn’t work out today,” Barnes said. “I left a few pitches up and I had to pay for it. It was my bad.”
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.