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ONTO -- There was a brief, unofficial rain delay during the Blue Jays' game against Baltimore on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.
Stadium officials experienced difficulty while attempting to close the retractable roof as light showers began to fall. The roof was still functioning, but at a much-reduced speed, according to a spokesman for the Blue Jays.
The lack of protection from the open skies resulted in a short delay in the middle of the sixth inning. The Rogers Centre grounds crew came onto the field to improve the conditions on the field while a fire alarm in the building went off shortly thereafter.
"It was definitely surprising," Blue Jays starter Carlos Villanueva said. "Looking up, just waiting for that last bit to close and then the alarm went off. It was a very adventurous couple of innings. It's unfortunate, but it happened."
No official delay was announced because play was technically not impacted for a long enough period of time. There have been six official rain delays in Rogers Centre history.
The public address announcer came on in the top of the seventh and apologized to the fans in attendance that had to run for cover in order to stay dry.
"Fans, we are experiencing technical difficulties with the roof," the announcement said. "It is closing slower than usual, but will close shortly. The Toronto Blue Jays thank you for your patience and your understanding."
The game might not have been delayed, but the quality of the playing surface was definitely affected. The mound, which is made from a type of red clay, was fully exposed to the elements and became rather muddy as the rain continued to fall.
Villanueva spoke with home-plate umpire Laz Diaz after the top half of the sixth inning, which eventually led to the grounds crew coming onto the field and the brief, unofficial delay to improve conditions.
"It started going heavier in my cleats, getting heavy, but you can't stop the game," said Villanueva, who surrendered six runs in 6 2/3 innings. "I'm not an umpire, you have to keep going until they think we can't go anymore. At that point, you have to bear down, you can't use that as an excuse, but it happened. Nobody planned it, it just happened that way. It's definitely strange."
Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds played under a retractable roof in Arizona for five years earlier in his career, but never witnessed anything quite as bizarre as the scene on Tuesday night.
"I don't even know why they opened it in the first place," Reynolds said. "It was raining outside all day.
"The worst part was it was right over our dugout and our batting gloves and helmets were getting wet."