Yankees beat Orioles at 2:15 in the morning

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Yankees beat Orioles at 2:15 in the morning

From Comcast SportsNet Wednesday, September 7, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) -- After waiting several hours to start the game, the New York Yankees held on a few more minutes for the go-ahead run. Only 500 fans or so were left in the stands early Wednesday when the Yankees finished off a rain-delayed 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles at 2:15 a.m., helped when a video replay upheld Francisco Cervelli's tiebreaking homer. With few options left for a makeup date, the messy game began at 11:08 p.m. after a delay of 4 hours, 3 minutes with roughly 1,000 fans in the stands. The Yankees and Major League Baseball were in constant contact before the first pitch. "I guess baseball wanted us to wait," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. Umpire crew chief Gary Darling confirmed it was MLB's call on when to finally start. As for the soggy conditions, "it was never bad enough for us to stop," he said. Cervelli hit his shot in the seventh inning off Tommy Hunter (3-3). Two fans reached near the left-field wall to grab it and Orioles manager Buck Showalter argued the ball was in play. The umpires reviewed the play, then confirmed their original home-run call. "They will tell you, even though they didn't tell me, that they need indisputable evidence to overturn what the decision was on the field," Showalter said. "I haven't looked real good at it. I know what the players saw." Brett Gardner followed with a home run, and the AL East-leading Yankees won their sixth in a row. It was a sloppy affair, full of wild throws and fielding misadventures -- four errors and two wild pitches, among them. Rain fell throughout the night, whipped by gusting winds. Puddles formed and the grounds crew spent nearly as much time on the field as the players, dumping bag after bag of diamond dust in hopes of drying out the pitcher's mound, batter's box and basepaths. "The dirt was too wet, but you got to play," Cervelli said. During a 10-minute break in the fifth, the sound system played "Fixing a Hole" by the Beatles while the Yankees huddled under the dugout roof and Showalter spoke to the umpires. Baltimore left fielder Matt Angle had the most glaring problem with the tough environment. He got twisted around when Cervelli lifted a fly in the fifth, dropped the ball for an error, slipped trying to recover and wound up with mud all over the front of his uniform as a run scored. The fans had a hard time keeping their feet, too. In the fifth, two men chased a foul ball behind the plate, lost their balance on a metal walkway and splashed to the ground with a thud. They got an ovation for their effort. All fans from the announced attendance of 44,573 -- the amount of tickets sold -- were allowed to move down to the expensive seats. There was no announcement about that over the public-address system -- instead they were told individually. The Yankees also said tickets for this game could be redeemed for a free seat during the 2012 season. The game ended so late, in fact, that the announcers on the Yankees' YES television network kept reminding viewers this was live action, not a post-midnight replay. This was not, however, the longest delay at Yankee Stadium. In 2009, a game between the Yankees and Washington was held up by rain for nearly 5 hours. Several games in the majors were delayed by rain Tuesday on what was already shaping up as a difficult week for New York and the Orioles. The teams are scheduled to play again Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium, then meet in Baltimore on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. for the makeup of a previous rainout. "Doubleheaders are hard on your guys," Girardi said. "Both scenarios weren't great." Showalter echoed that sentiment as he looked ahead. "We're trying to make sure we're competitive. It's not always the people who just played in the game until 2 or 3 in the morning," he said. Cory Wade (4-0) won in relief. Mariano Rivera earned his 39th save of the season and 598th of his career. Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer for the Orioles. Chris Piteo of Springfield, Mass., was among the fans who waited out the delay. "This is my one chance to see a game here this season," he said. "It's not like I can come any day to Yankee Stadium." With him were his sister, Marcy, and her two sons, ages 12 and 10. They were all aware that Wednesday was a school day back home. "We're already discussing the options," she said with a smile. NOTES: The Yankees lead the majors with 200 home runs. ... Baltimore INF Mark Reynolds leads the majors with 27 errors. ... Chris Davis struck out on a breaking ball that bounced off his left foot, but reached first base on the wild pitch by Yankees starter Phil Hughes. ... Yankees DH Jorge Posada connected in the third inning against Hunter. His previous home run also came against Hunter, on Aug. 26. ... Reigning Miss America Teresa Scanlan sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.

What will it be like when Goodell shows up in Foxboro?

What will it be like when Goodell shows up in Foxboro?

Tom E. Curran in the Cumberland Farms lounge joins Sports Tonight to discuss what he thinks it will be like when Roger Goodell attends the Patriots home opener on September 7.

Burkhead's former running backs coach: 'He's going to flourish' with Patriots

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Burkhead's former running backs coach: 'He's going to flourish' with Patriots

PHOENIX -- Rex Burkhead was buried on a deep running back depth chart in Cincinnati, but in New England he may finally have a chance to show his offensive value. That's how Burkhead's former running backs coach and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson feels, at least.

Before he was hired as Browns head coach last season, Jackson worked closely with Burkhead for three years and saw the 5-foot-10, 210-pounder's versatile skill set on a daily basis. With the Patriots, under Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, Jackson believes Burkhead has a chance to see that skill set maximized. 

"He's very talented," Jackson said during the league meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. "He's a guy that was playing behind some very talented players [with the Bengals], and so he's going to get his opportunity now, and he's going to flourish. He's a really good player. A really good player.

"He's very versatile because he's a good runner, a good pass-catcher. He's a good blocker. He's very bright. He's been a sensational special teams player there so he brings a lot of different elements to that football team."

The Patriots signed Burkhead to a one-year deal earlier this offseason that could pay him more than $3 million -- a sign that they're hoping he'll factor heavily into the offense in 2017. With LeGarrette Blount still on the free-agent market, Burkhead is currently the biggest back on the Patriots roster alongside Dion Lewis, James White and DJ Foster, and he could be in line for a significant amount of work in short-yardage situations and on first and second down.

Burkhead served primarily as a special-teamer during his four-year career in Cincinnati, but in Week 17 of last season, because of injuries to his teammates at the position, he was the Bengals lead back and ran 27 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns. We took a closer look at the qualities he put on display that day right here

It was a performance that gave Burkhead's profile a where-did-that-come-from type of boost as he headed toward unrestricted free agency, but his head coach at the time wasn't surprised.

"Not at all. That's why we drafted him," said Bengals sideline boss Marvin Lewis, who went on to explain why Burkhead was an inconsistent offensive contributor leading up to that game.

"A lot of times when Rex got opportunities to play, he wasn't quite 100 percent and so that kind of limited him some. Even in preseason opportunities and so forth like that where you'd go into the game, and it'd be Rex's -- in my mind, Rex's ballgame -- to carry the ball in the first or second quarter and he wasn't able to suit up that day.

"That's one of the things he's battled over his career is just being 100 percent completely healthy. [But] he's just a hard-working guy who always wants to be out there."

And in New England, it looks like he'll have the chance to be out there more.