BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays had their game against Tampa Bay suspended in the fourth inning because of rain Saturday night, a hazard of playing in their temporary outdoor home in Buffalo.
Play was called at Sahlen Field with the Blue Jays about to bat in the fourth inning and trailing 1-0. About two hours later, it became a suspended game.
The Rays and Blue Jays will resume at 1 p.m. Sunday and finish their nine-inning game. They will then play a seven-inning game, shortened from the regularly scheduled nine innings.
Toronto’s only other suspended home game occurred on Aug. 28, 1980, against Minnesota, when a day game was halted after 14 innings due to a 5 p.m. curfew at Exhibition Stadium, which was also a venue for concerts during the annual Canadian National Exhibition.
This was the Blue Jays’ first home weather delay since July 26, 2003, when sudden rain caused a 26-minute delay in a game against the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre, which features a retractable roof and opened in 1989.
The Blue Jays have had six delays at Rogers Centre, four due to rain and once each due to bugs and fog. They have also had two pregame postponements in their current home due to unsafe roof conditions, with the last of those occurring in 2018.
Toronto is playing in Buffalo at the home of their Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government banned the team for hosting games at Rogers Centre because of coronavirus concerns.
In the third inning, a patch of thunderstorms began developing in an area about 10 miles east of Sahlen Field. The storm steadily crept its way toward the ballpark as skies looked increasingly ominous and winds intensified.
The grounds crew had a discussion with the umpires and was told to place the tarp on the field. Torrential rain started within a minute of that decision.
“I tried to go see how the field was, but I couldn’t because the dugout was full of water,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We were trying to wait as long as we could, but the forecast wasn’t very good, so they had to suspend the game.”
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, had to find alternative places to wait out the delay.
“Toronto has taken over both clubhouses, and ours is out in right field,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We went on the concourse and hung out in the suites. We had more granola bars.”
Tampa Bay took its 1-0 lead on Austin Meadows’ home run in the third inning.
Rays: Charlie Morton threw about 20 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday and Cash said he’s hoping for Morton to throw off a mound again on Tuesday and was encouraged by the right-hander’s progress. Left-hander Jose Alvarado will be going on the IL with an injured shoulder. Alvarado faced seven batters on Friday night, but, according to Cash, “went out and played catch (Saturday), came in and complained about it not feeling right.”
Blue Jays: No updates were provided regarding the three players who remain on the IL: closer Ken Giles, pitcher Trent Thornton and outfielder Derek Fisher.
Rays: RHP Yonny Chirinos (0-0, 1.04) will be coming off the IL to start Sunday against Toronto in the regularly scheduled game.
Blue Jays: RHP Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.86), who has held opposing batters to a .194 average in three starts, will start against the Rays in the seven-inning game.