Suspended games turn history on its head
Official stats reach back in time when contests resume months later
DENVER -- The Rockies won their first seven home series of the season.
They could extend that streak to eight.
They won't, however, know until Sept. 1.
It's all in the Major League Baseball rule book.
The Rockies split the first two games of their series against San Francisco at Coors Field on Tuesday and Wednesday. The series finale Thursday was suspended with the scored tied, 2-2, and two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
The game will be resumed when the Giants come back to town, prior to the scheduled Sept. 1 opener of a three-game series. Whatever happens in the final innings of that resumption in September will officially be listed on the all-time records as part of a May 22 game.
It can lead to some great trivia. Not only will both teams have a chance to expand their rosters to as many as 40 active players Sept. 1, but who knows who will be healthy or traded or acquired in the interim?
Any player on the active roster Sept. 1 will be eligible to play in the resumption of the game, unless they appeared Thursday and were taken out of the game, such as starting pitchers Tim Hudson of the Giants and Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies. They were both removed after three innings because of an initial rain delay of one hour, 22 minutes. The game was stopped again for one hour, 24 minutes following Michael Cuddyer's two-out single in the bottom of the sixth.
Over the years, games were suspended because of curfews or darkness (before lights were installed in ballparks), and then, in 2007, Major League Baseball changed Rule 4.10 to provide that any regulation game (meaning at least five innings are completed) stopped with the score tied is a suspended game.
So just because Cuddyer was on first base and lefty David Huff was on the mound for the Giants at the time the game was stopped doesn't mean that Cuddyer will be the baserunner and Huff will be the pitcher when the game resumes.
They may not even be with the team by then.
That's how Joel Hanrahan earned a victory for Washington while enjoying an off-day with his Pittsburgh teammates.
It is why Barry Bonds' first "official" at-bat is listed on his day-by-day sheet 40 days before he was called to the big leagues.
And it explains why Ken Griffey Jr., was able to go 2-for-4 with a double and run scored for Cincinnati on the same day that he technically drew a walk for the Chicago White Sox.
Hanrahan was enjoying an off-day with the Pirates, playing golf in Philadelphia on July 9, 2009. When he finished the round of golf, he found out he had picked up a win in the Nationals' 11-10, 11-inning victory against Houston. The game is listed as being played May 5 that year.
Hanrahan had pitched the top of the 11th inning May 5 in Washington and the game was suspended in the bottom of the inning after LaTroy Hawkins issued a one-out walk to Elijah Dukes. With the Astros not returning to Washington that season, the decision was made to complete the suspended game in Houston on July 9 before a regularly scheduled game between the two teams.
Hawkins, now with the Rockies, was still with the Astros at the time and took the loss when pinch-runner Nyjer Morgan scored on Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada's throwing error.
Morgan had to run because Dukes was sent to Triple-A Syracuse before the resumption of the game. Hanrahan was traded June 30 to the Pirates in a four-player deal that saw Morgan go from the Pirates to the Nationals.
There's something about the Pirates and suspended games.
Bonds debuted for the Pirates on May 30, 1986, against the Dodgers. The next day he doubled for his first big league hit. Check his day-by-day sheet, however, and it will show Bonds not only appeared in an April 20 game, he pinch-hit for Jim Morrison and delivered the go-ahead single in the Pirates' 10-8, 17-inning victory at Wrigley Field.
The Pirates-Cubs game at Wrigley Field on April 20 that year was suspended because of darkness after 13 innings with the scored tied at 8. It was resumed on Aug. 4, well after Bonds had made his actual debut.
Griffey was with Cincinnati on April 28, 2008, which happened to be the day the White Sox and Orioles had a game suspended with the score tied, 3-3, in the top of the 12th.
The Reds traded Griffey to the White Sox on July 31 that season, so when the suspended game resumed Aug. 25, Griffey was called on to hit for Brady Anderson in the bottom of the 14th inning of the game the White Sox lost, 4-3. He was intentionally walked.
Well, Rocky Cherry pitched the bottom of the 14th for the Orioles, which means he is credited with his first big league save 3 1/2 months before he made his big league debut. Luis Montanez was credited with the game-winning single April 28 in the record books even though he made his big league debut Aug. 5.
So the Rockies will take on the Giants at Coors Field in a game that will be in the bottom of the sixth inning on Sept. 1, waiting to find out whether their streak of consecutive series victories at home was extended back in May or not.
As Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over `til it's over."
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.