DETROIT — One win from the World Series. Rainy or not, the Detroit Tigers will have to wait.
Game 4 of the AL championship series between the Tigers and New York Yankees was postponed because of a stormy forecast Wednesday night – although Comerica Park was still dry when the decision was made.
"They kept saying it was going to come and it never came," Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer said. "So go figure."
About an hour later, however, heavy rain started to fall, soaking the tarp that was placed on the infield before the postponement.
With the Tigers seeking a sweep in the best-of-seven series, Game 4 was rescheduled for Thursday at 4:07 p.m. New York will send ace CC Sabathia to the mound against Scherzer. The Tigers will have lefty Phil Coke, who saved Games 2 and 3, available after a day of rest.
Game 5, if necessary, would be Friday in Detroit.
Under the original schedule, there was a good chance Sabathia would pitch a potential Game 7 on three days' rest if the Yankees rallied in the series. Now, he might be limited to one start – and New York might need to win four games in four days to advance.
"You cannot think about Game 7 when you need to win a game," New York second baseman Robinson Cano said.
Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson, benched along with third baseman Alex Rodriguez by manager Joe Girardi on Wednesday before the game was called, said the unplanned night off might actually help him and his slumping team.
"It's definitely not going to hurt by any means," Granderson said. "We haven't played well to this point. Who knows? Change is always a good thing."
The first pitch Wednesday night was slated for 8:07 p.m. But shortly before the scheduled start, the crowd was informed of a delay. A radar forecast for the Detroit area was eventually posted on the scoreboard video screen, as if to explain to fans why there was no baseball despite what was still pleasant weather at the ballpark.
The postponement was announced after a delay of about 70 minutes. A misty rain finally began about 15 minutes after the postponement was announced and steady rain followed shortly thereafter.
The Tigers are no strangers to rain in the playoffs. Last year, ace Justin Verlander had two starts cut short by bad weather – although both were on the road.
"A lot of people were pretty upset that Verlander didn't get to finish his start," Detroit catcher Alex Avila said. "So, I think people would be pretty upset if they didn't get to see Scherzer and Sabathia finish their starts as well. Major League Baseball is trying to protect not only the pitchers, but also play a clean game without having to stop and stuff like that."
After Game 1 of the 2011 ALCS at Texas was delayed twice for a total of 1 hour, 50 minutes, Game 2 was called off well before the scheduled first pitch because of a forecast calling for more wet weather. Then, it didn't rain that night.
There is also a chance of rain in Detroit during at least parts of Thursday and Friday, but the forecast calls for mostly sunny and partly cloudy skies late afternoon and early evening Thursday that would allow the teams to play ball.
Cards take 2-1 lead over Giants
ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Beltran limped to the trainer's room, taking the St. Louis Cardinals' biggest clutch October bat with him.
Turns out they had the perfect substitute.
Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer after subbing for Beltran and the Cardinals chased Matt Cain before a 3 1/2-hour rain delay in the seventh inning of a 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night for a 2-1 NL championship series lead.
Beltran strained his left knee running out a double-play ball in the first innings and the Cardinals said he was day to day.
Kyle Lohse worked around a season-worst five walks in 5 2-3 innings. Mitchell Boggs struck out Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt with two on to end the seventh. Jason Motte earned the first two-inning save of his career to reward what remained of a sellout crowd of 45,850 – perhaps a third – that stuck around for a game that lasted 3 hours, 2 minutes, about a half-hour shorter than the delay.
"They said if we didn't score I was going to go out there. I was in the clubhouse running around, I've never really had to sit around like that," Motte said. "It was probably the most nervous I've ever been."
Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro had two hits and a clean game in the field, two days after Matt Holliday rammed him breaking up a double-play ball. Manager Bruce Bochy had said there would be no retaliation, and Game 3 was collision-free.
The big winners in a delay that featured about a half-hour without rain while officials awaited a second, smaller front: Beer vendors, by a single out. Alcohol sales are cut off after the seventh inning in all stadiums.
Cain lost for the second time this postseason, giving up three runs on five hits in 6 1-3 innings. The Giants, who entered the game batting just .217 in the postseason, were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
The Cardinals snapped the Giants' five-game road winning streak in the postseason, three of them this year. Game 4 is in St. Louis on Thursday night, with Adam Wainwright pitching for the Cardinals. Tim Lincecum will start for the Giants.
"He's a guy we want out there. He's been throwing the ball well," Bochy said. "We've got to bounce back."
Carpenter followed Jon Jay's two-out single with a homer off Cain in his first at-bat of the NLCS.