The Pioneer League South Division second-half race took a bizarre turn Tuesday night when Rookie-level Ogden forfeited its game against first-place Grand Junction at Suplizio Field.
The Raptors -- a Dodgers affiliate -- have formally protested the game, which goes into the books as a 9-0 win for the Rockies.
Conditions were soggy in Grand Junction and the start was delayed 47 minutes. But once play began, it continued uninterrupted until the seventh-inning stretch, when Ogden manager Jack McDowell argued that the field had become unplayable.
Umpires Andy Stukel and Jordan Johnson disagreed. When McDowell refused to put his team back on the field, Stukel and Johnson declared that the Raptors had lost by forfeiture after leading, 4-2.
"I understand that Jack is going to call me with perhaps a different gloss on this story, but my understanding is that it rained off and on all game," said Pioneer League president Jim McCurdy, reached at his home.
"The Ogden club protested and the umpires declared the field playable. After a delay of 15 minutes, the umpires ruled it a forfeiture. That is being contested, of course, by the Ogden club, and we'll make a ruling about that when all the facts have been presented, perhaps in the morning."
The league later released an official statement, which Grand Junction relayed via Twitter:
Raptors pitching coach Greg Sabat was ejected in the top of the seventh, with the [Ogden] Standard-Examiner reporting he had been arguing about playing conditions.
Ogden broadcaster Brandon Hart indicated that McDowell also was upset that he had not been given a warning that his team faced a forfeit if it did not return to the field.
"Basically, he said the field wasn't good enough for his players and the umpires said it was," Grand Junction manager Anthony Sanders told The [Grand Junction] Daily Sentinel. "I kind of sat back and let them make the decision. After the delay, our pitching can't go back out there. After you stop for a while, that field won't be playable."
If the protest is upheld, the game is likely to resume in the bottom of the seventh. Should the forfeit be confirmed, statistics from the game will count and the Raptors will fall 2 1/2 games off the division lead.
That would be a good thing for Rockies left fielder Yonathan Daza, who was 3-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base, one night after going 5-for-5 with three RBIs, three steals and two runs scored.
It's the second time this season a Dodgers affiliate has forfeited a game. On July 15, Triple-A Albuquerque was forced to forfeit a 7-6 win over El Paso for adding a player from the disabled list to its already full 25-man roster without making a corresponding move.
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com.