CHICAGO -- The Giants have won two of the past four World Series titles. It turns out they're pretty hard to beat off the field, too.
In an extremely rare move, Major League Baseball upheld a protest filed by the Giants after Tuesday night's game was cut short by poor field conditions. The game, first ruled a 2-0 Giants loss, will resume at 2:05 p.m. (PDT) on Thursday at Wrigley Field, with the Cubs set to bat in the bottom of the fifth.
The Giants are the first team since 1986 to win a protest, and after winning 8-3 on Wednesday, they will get a chance to sweep a series that originally started with a loss.
"I thought we had a strong case," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We felt very strongly about it. I'm thankful and grateful that (MLB officials) were open-minded. They listened and looked at it, and this is the fair thing to do. I don't know what will happen. We may not win ... but at least we'll finish the game.
"That's the right thing to do."
In making the decision, MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre ruled there was sufficient cause to believe there was a "malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club." MLB reviewed video of the botched tarp pull and determined the incident was "caused by the failure to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use."
"As a result, the groundskeeping crew was unable to properly deploy the tarp after the rain worsened," MLB wrote in a statement released shortly before Wednesday's game. Citing Rule 4.12 (a)(3), MLB ruled that the game was now a suspended game and must be completed. The Cubs agreed with the ruling, and general manager Jed Hoyer said they actually advocated on the Giants' behalf.
"I'm glad with the outcome. It was a good result," Hoyer said. "The last thing we wanted was a (contending) team to feel bitter about the result here. The idea of losing a game where you hit five times isn't right. I hope we win the game, but they'll get a fair shot."
Hoyer stood by his grounds crew, saying the 15-minute storm was a unique one that didn't even touch many surrounding areas. Less than 10 miles away, the White Sox and Orioles were able to finish a concurrent game under clear skies. When rain doused Wrigley Field, though, the grounds crew had trouble straightening the tarp enough to fully cover the infield.
"There was obviously a mechanical issue with the way it was put away," Hoyer said.
The commissioner's office felt the same way and ruled in the Giants' favor but only after it rejected a Hail Mary. The Giants had asked for the game to be ruled a forfeit, but MLB spoke to umpiring crew chief Hunter Wendelstedt and determined that the grounds crew worked diligently in its attempt to comply with his directions to cover the field.
When the game resumes, Yusmeiro Petit will pitch for the Giants. Jacob Turner will take the ball for the leading Cubs. Both teams will be allowed to call up a 26th player to provide coverage for the second of Thursday's two games. The Cubs announced that ticket holders for both the suspended game and the regularly scheduled game will be able to attend both.
"We should have a packed house, right?" pitching coach Dave Righetti said. "It's a little bit of history."
The protest is only the sixth to be upheld in the last 60 years, and Righetti was on the field during the most famous one, the George Brett "pine tar incident" in 1983.
"That one went to court," he said, smiling. "This one looks like it's going to end on the field, which is how it should be."
Wednesday's resumed game promises to be a unique one regardless of the final score, and the two sides are hopeful that this case sets a precedent. Hoyer said he wants MLB general managers to discuss a rule change this offseason that would keep teams from being punished by human error.
MLB statement ON PROTEST
"Available video of the incident, and conversations with representatives of the Cubs, demonstrate that the Cubs' inability to deploy the tarp appropriately was caused by the failure to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use. As a result, the groundskeeping crew was unable to properly deploy the tarp after the rain worsened. In accordance with Rule 4.12(a)(3), the game should be considered a suspended game that must be completed at a future date."