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Lightning source of power delay at The Trop

Play suspended for 19 minutes in eighth inning of Orioles-Rays clash

Special to

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In the top half of the eighth inning on Tuesday night, some of the lights at Tropicana Field suddenly went out and caused a 19-minute delay.

The Orioles struck for a pair of runs when play resumed and went on to record a 5-3 win over the Rays in the series opener.

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According to Duke Energy, the power outage occurred when a transformer carrying incoming power lines to Tropicana Field was struck by lightning.

"I think there was a Grand Opening somewhere," quipped Rays manager Joe Maddon.

"That's just one of the things we have to put up with here. You could definitely see it was dimmer. It got dimmer fast. [The lights] usually take about 15 minutes to come back up."

"They don't want it to happen, it hurts them as much as it does us, I'm sure," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

Asked if he had ever seen a power outage during a game, Showalter said, "Have you been in the Minor Leagues? I've seen it a couple times -- two, three times -- and it lasted a lot longer than that. I was just hoping it wouldn't mess up the air conditioning."

The score was tied at 3 with one out and Orioles runners on second and third when play was interrupted. Although the O's scored twice in that inning after play resumed, Maddon did not think the delay had anything to do with reliever Joel Peralta yielding the go-ahead bases-loaded single to Ryan Flaherty.

"Relief pitchers are used to sitting awhile and getting back up," Maddon said.

Both teams left the field -- except for the Rays' Matt Joyce and Desmond Jennings, who reclined on the grass in center field -- during the break and the fans were entertained by a Bugs Bunny baseball cartoon playing on the scoreboard.

A bank of lights in center field remained out for the remainder of the game.

"I saw it happen in the Super Bowl, but that was the only experience I've had watching lights go out," Flaherty said. "Yeah, I saw a couple of their guys sitting in the outfield. Looney Tunes was on the scoreboard. It was kind of a bizarre moment."

Jim Hawkins is a contributor to

Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays