SAN FRANCISCO -- Players were hit with a deluge at AT&T Park with two outs in the top of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, and officials elected to keep the game going.

This despite the infield increasingly resembling a litter box in the final minutes of Monday night's 9-0 Giants win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Just five days earlier, Game 3 of the series in St. Louis was rain delayed for three-and-a-half hours in the bottom of the seventh.

So why the Noah's Ark-like perseverance?

If you guessed anything along the lines of "it was the final out of Game 7, it was a blowout, the World Series was two days away, you can't send home fans to come back the next day for a half inning of baseball," you would be right on all counts.

As Major League Baseball spokesman Patrick Courtney put it, game circumstances, the weather forecast, and fans in the ballpark are all factors when officials determine whether to delay or postpone a game.

"Decisions are reached on-site considering all of those variables and playing conditions," Courtney said, "and if you get to the point where the field becomes unplayable."

Monday night, the umpires seemed to stretch those rules by continuing the game in the ninth-inning downpour. Giants cleats sloshed around as grounds crews scrambled to spread dirt across the infield and re-form the pitcher's mound and home plate area.

Shortstop Brandon Crawford, a Bay Area native, said the moment summed up the Giants' improbable run to the World Series.


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"It never rains like that here," Crawford said. "We were out there standing in puddles of water."

Per baseball rules, once the game starts, the decision to stop a game is in the hands of the umpire crew chief. The chief of Monday night's crew was Gary Darling, a 25-year veteran umpire.

Had the game been in an earlier inning or the score more competitive, officials might have decided differently, Courtney said. In Game 3, the score was 3-1 when the delay was called.

Thankfully for most -- Cardinals fans notably excepted -- Game 7 ended soon after the cascade when fan nemesis Matt Holliday popped up a fly ball to newly anointed folk hero Marco Scutaro for the final out, sparing fans and viewers from the sight of players slip-sliding to field a ball on the ground.

Somewhat to the chagrin of outfielder Hunter Pence.

"It was pretty cool," Pence said. "But I think it could have been really fun if someone had to make a diving catch. That would have been some slide."

The field was back to game condition Tuesday, repaired and groomed by grounds crews after Monday night's game and dried by a full day of sunshine. And it looks like umpires won't face the same tough weather decisions for the first two games of the World Series as they did during the NLCS.

The forecast for Game 1 versus the Detroit Tigers is cloudy with a 15 to 20 percent chance of rain, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Austin Cross, who adds that he expects the skies to be relatively clear for the 5 p.m. game time. For Game 2 on Thursday, he says computer models predict a clear evening with little to no chance of rain.

And there's little chance those predictions are being overly optimistic. Cross has no horse in this race: He's an Oakland A's fan.

Staff writer Alex Pavlovic contributed to this report. Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.