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‘Don't you dare stop this game': Inside the White Sox's improbable rain-delay win

What a game

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Have you ever seen anything like that unfold in a baseball game?

The White Sox were down two runs to the Cardinals in St. Louis. They crafted an excellent comeback, starting in the sixth inning. Korey Lee hit a two-run RBI single to tie the game. In extra innings, newly signed and promoted Tommy Pham drove in the go-ahead run to put them in a position to close the game out.

That's when things went south.

At around 4:30 p.m. in St. Louis, White Sox reliever John Brebbia attempted to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 10th inning accompanied by unrelenting rain and lightning. Brebbia was switching balls nearly every pitch, making the walk to Lee to try and cover the ball away from the rain.

Brebbia, with no outs, bases loaded, and downpouring rain, struck out both Lars Nootbaar and Masyn Winn to give the Sox two outs.

"I thought Brebbia striking out those two guys in that kind of weather was really unbelievable," Pedro Grifol said after the game.

Finally, Brebbia had Nolan Gorman down one strike when the officials declared a rain delay on the field. But not without some pushback from Brebbia, first.

"I said 'Don't you dare stop this game. Just keep it going,'" Brebbia said after the game. "I don't know what they said back to me. I know that they wanted to say 'You're an idiot, we're gonna stop it.' But I did my best to just kinda keep it going so that we didn't have to wait around for hours to finally finish it."

Brebbia wasn't able to strike out Gorman fast enough.

That began a three-hour rain delay in St. Louis; but not without drama, either. The grounds crew took off the tarp a few times, teasing the resumption of the game. But as John Schriffen said on the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast, every time the teams aimed for another start time, heavy rain began to pour again.

The players did a variety of things while they waited. Brebbia recalls pitchers --- who had already thrown ---beginning their postgame recovery programs. Some card games unfolded. Some naps were taken. But the White Sox, as a whole, remained focused, despite having been at the field since 8 a.m.

"In that three-hour and three-minute delay, they stayed focused," Grifol said. "They had their fun and all in here and all that stuff but they stayed focused."

Finally, both teams emerged onto the field aiming for a 7:30 p.m. restart --- three hours after the game was delayed due to rain, and over six hours after the game first started at 1:15 p.m.

With Brebbia on the sidelines for three hours, the White Sox sent Tanner Banks to the bump --- the only pitcher available from the bullpen. In five pitches, including a questionably placed fifth-pitch changeup, Banks struck out pinch-hitter Ivan Herrera.

"It was a coin toss. We had an attack strategy for either of the potential hitters," Banks said postgame. "Just attack. The general mindset of pitchers is to make your pitches and compete and battle. Fortunately, I came in with one strike, so one pitch, 0-2. Then you get to kinda play that game a little bit; the chess game of pitching."

After the rain delay, the game probably lasted five or less minutes. But the White Sox celebrated with some emphatic hugs and high-fives after waiting over three hours to resume. That'll bring a team together.

No game has been easy for the White Sox this season, who have been shut out the most times through a 33-game span in MLB history (9). Amid a dramatic rebuild, the White Sox own the league's worst record by one game over the Rockies.

And the baseball Gods have refused to spare the White Sox any favor this season, handing them injuries to their three best players, nine shutouts through 20% of the season, and a three-hour rain delay on the cusp of victory.

Just when they could taste their seventh victory of the season and a chance to snap their nine-game road losing streak, the opportunity was ripped away from them for hours.

But they held strong. The White Sox returned to the field and took care of business.

"Never been a part of anything like that before," Grifol said. "But I'm happy to have been a part of it. And I'm happy to have been on the right end of that one. That would've been a tough one to lose."

They have one more game left in their road series against the Cardinals on Sunday before traveling down to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays for a three-game series.

And despite how the series finale on Sunday unfolds, a win after a three-hour rain delay certainly feels like a stronger victory than most.

"It was a difficult day, but a sweet day, because we came out with the win," Grifol said.

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