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INGTON -- How loud exactly was the thunder that signaled the beginning of a rain delay in Sunday's series finale between the Rangers and Twins?
"I thought I was dead," said Rangers manager Ron Washington.
With one out in the top of the fourth inning, Minnesota's Ryan Doumit was facing Rangers hurler Roy Oswalt trying to help the Twins break a scoreless tie. Suddenly, a bright flash of lightning appeared and a deafening clap of thunder immediately ensued. Oswalt, along with his teammates, Doumit, and the Twins base coaches scattered and fled into their respective dugouts. The Rangers grounds crew put a tarp on the infield as a 46-minute rain delay began.
"I've never heard anything like that," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "It scared everybody. I think you saw that. It was loud. It was the loudest I've ever heard. So right in the middle of it, that's pretty amazing stuff."
Mike Napoli, despite wearing a full set of catcher's gear, was one of the quickest Rangers off the field. Upon hearing the thunder, he sprinted into the dugout before any of his teammates.
"I don't remember what I was doing but it freaked me out," Napoli said. "I went for cover but I don't think that helped anything. It was so quick and, you see the flash, I don't know. I just started running, for some odd reason, to the dugout. We watched the video about 40 times, just watching everybody on the field. Every time we watched it, we had a good laugh."
Possibly the most memorable reaction to the thunder and lightning was Josh Willingham's. He drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and, after he heard the thunder, he immediately went down on his hands and knees. Willingham's first-base coach, Jerry White, didn't go down on all fours, but he took a few steps towards the Rangers' dugout before realizing he was going the wrong way.
"I've never heard anything that loud in my life," said Michael Young, who stood between Willingham and White when the lightning struck. "Willingham hit the deck. He was making a dirt angel on the floor. Jerry White, their first-base coach, was going bananas behind the umpire. It was interesting to see everybody's reaction. I saw the lightning, but the thunder was instant. It was a split second right after that. Apart from the world ending, I knew it was thunder. It was nuts."
After the delay ended, Oswalt promptly got Doumit to ground into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the sixth and extended it to 3-0 in the ninth before the Rangers rallied to tie the game and eventually won it with a walk-off single by Ian Kinsler in the 13th. But the roar that erupted from the 43,268 in attendance Sunday night may not have been louder than the rumble of the thunder several hours before.
"That was definitely one of the louder noises I've heard in my life," said Cole De Vries, the Twins starting pitcher, who tossed seven scoreless innings. "I was sitting right on the bench. I was looking straight out at the right-field line at the overhang and I could've swore I saw something hit that metal up and make a little explosion."