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Hamilton advances to third on a wild pitch

ARLINGTON -- The end came at 1:27 a.m. after a rain delay of almost three hours, two bursts of hail, three head-first slides by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton during one eighth-inning trip around the bases and three home runs by White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin.

When it was over, the Rangers were worn out and their perseverance went unrewarded. After all that transpired during the ordeal, Quentin's career night proved to be too much and the Rangers ended up losing, 8-6, on Tuesday night at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"It was long obviously ... definitely the latest I've ever finished a game," Rangers first baseman Michael Young said. "Everything would have been fine if we would have gotten the win. But they did a good job, their bullpen did a good job and Quentin had a big night."

The two teams will try it again at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, less than 12 hours after this one came to an end with only a small percentage of the announced crowd of 35,524 still in the stands.

"When the game starts, this will be forgotten about," Young said. "We'll go home, get some sleep and be ready to play."

The game began with storms in the area, lightning in the sky and a 20-30 mph wind whipping around the ballpark. By the third inning, the upper deck had been evacuated because of the threat of lightning and with Rangers right fielder Mitch Moreland trying to man his position with debris swirling all around him.

"That was crazy weather tonight ... just crazy," Moreland said. "You didn't know what the ball was going to do because of the wind. You had to be on your toes."

The delay came as the Rangers were coming up to bat in the bottom of the fourth with the White Sox holding a 4-2 lead. It lasted two hours and 58 minutes. That was 53 minutes more than the Rangers' 4-0 victory over the White Sox on Monday and two hours and 14 minutes longer than a rain delay against the Athletics on May 11.

That one also came in the bottom of the fourth, only that time the Rangers were up 7-0. But that one was called off and the Rangers' lead was washed away. They weren't so fortunate on Tuesday night.

"It's frustrating to wait through a delay like that," outfielder David Murphy said. "Hindsight is 20-20. If we had won, we'd all would have been happy playing. Everything would have been fine. It's easy to blame it on waiting through the delay, but they had to do it, too. We didn't do too bad. We put runs on the board, they just answered it."

The rain delay included two hail storms. It included tornado sirens and fans being evacuated from the main concourse to the service level below by way of going through the two dugouts and through the tunnels that the players use to get to the clubhouse. At various points, fans were running all over the field trying to find the right path to shelter and out of the weather.

It made for a strange sight, but nothing quite like what the Rangers saw in the eighth inning. They were down, 7-6, with two outs when Hamilton came to the plate in only his second game since returning from the disabled list. Remember that? He fractured a bone in his right arm sliding head-first into home plate in a game against the Tigers on April 12.

Hamilton missed almost five weeks and came back admitting that sliding into home plate was not a good idea. He didn't on Tuesday night. He slid into every other base though.

He hit a chopper up the middle and beat shortstop Alexei Ramirez's throw to first with a head-first slide into the bag. He then stole second and slid in head-first. Next, he advanced to third base on a wild pitch, again sliding head-first. He did so badly, coming up short. But that just made third baseman Brent Morel miss tagging him on his hand. Instead he clipped Hamilton in the jaw.

Hamilton emerged unhurt from his jaunt and Adrian Beltre kept Hamilton out of further jeopardy by flying out to end the inning.

"I wish he didn't slide head-first into first base, but he did," Washington said. "Josh was fine. He's just playing baseball. That's his instincts. I don't expect him to change."

The weather and rain delay limited Rangers starter Derek Holland to just four innings. Quentin hit a solo home run in the first inning off him, ending the Rangers pitchers' streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings. He added a three-run home run in the third, driving the ball the opposite way to right field.

"That ball was hit pretty good," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "When Carlos hits it, he can hit a long way. That was very impressive. You only see home runs like that from Josh Hamilton and [Adam] Dunn and Jim Thome."

That one was set up when Holland hit Morel, the White Sox No. 9 hitter, with a pitch leading off the inning and Juan Pierre beat out a bunt.

"I was very frustrated with that," Holland said. "I'm better than that. I'm not using the weather as an excuse ... I could have done a better job. I left a couple of pitches up and the wind took them out here."

Holland did not come back after the rain delay, ending a streak of eight straight consecutive quality starts by Rangers starters. That was tied for the longest by a Rangers rotation since nine straight from May 20-29, 1992.

That streak would still be alive if the game had been called because of rain. But crew chief umpire Tim Clelland checked the weather reports, knew that the rain would end eventually and was willing to patiently wait it out. Washington agreed it was the right decision.

"I thought they did a good job watching the weather," Washington said. "We played. I didn't want to play a doubleheader [on Wednesday]. We had a chance to win. We couldn't hold it together."

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