Yanks-Tigers opener 27 hours in the making

Yanks-Tigers opener 27 hours in the making

NEW YORK -- Things began somewhat askew Saturday night at Yankee Stadium after a pouring rain had forced the Tigers and Yankees to adjourn Game 1 of the American League Division Series after an inning and a half Friday night.

The evening began with a pair of pitching changes, there was no national anthem and the homestanding Yankees started the night at bat, led off by none other than Jorge Posada. It was the first time in his 16-year career that Posada was the first Yankees batter, but other than that, it was business as usual.

"I had never been in a situation where you have to continue a game, especially at the big league level," Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson said. "Being in the home ballpark, the fact that we had to bat first was definitely interesting, but it was also a lot of fun. There was a lot of joking around about the fact that Jorge was leading off for us and how that would play into the game.

"It made it fun and after that, it just went to a normal ballgame."

While a regular-season game would have just been restarted, Saturday's contest was the first use of the January 2009 rule amendment that stipulates when a postseason game is stopped, play must be suspended, regardless of how many innings have been played or the score when the game is called. The rule was made to cement a precedent set during Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, when the game was suspended with the Phillies and Rays tied in the top of the sixth.

And so, Game 1 wound up taking over 27 hours to complete after Friday's game began at 8:37 p.m. ET. The contest was delayed at 9:07 p.m. and later suspended at 10:24 p.m. Though players on both sides said the extended delay didn't affect how they went about their business when play resumed Saturday, the suspension did have very real consequences as to who was on the field.

The rain washed away a scintillating pitching matchup between Detroit's MVP candidate, Justin Verlander, and New York ace CC Sabathia. The two were replaced by Doug Fister and Ivan Nova. What's more, the two aces will now only pitch one more time in the series -- likely Game 3 on Monday -- after their abbreviated Friday outings. Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera said this last bit was a rough break for the Tigers, in particular.

"A lot," Cabrera said when asked how the suspended game changed things after Detroit's 9-3 loss. "We had our best pitcher out there. He's going to pitch the third game and he won't pitch again, but that's life. We have to play. Hopefully we can play good ball [Sunday]. Hopefully the offense is different [Sunday] and we can score some runs."

Still, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he wasn't thinking about which team got the better end of the rain delay. To him, what matters most is what happens on the field when its dry.

"This is just a series where you're going to pitch your guys," Leyland said. "It was probably unfortunate for the national audience that they missed the matchup, but it looks like they'll probably get to see it again."

Aaron Taube is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.