CHICAGO — Historic Wrigley Field turned into a waiting room Tuesday night.

The Giants and Cubs sat around for four hours and 34 minutes before the Cubs were awarded a controversial 2-0 victory. The home team led by a pair when a quick storm hit after the top of the fifth inning. The grounds crew made a mistake while spreading the tarp and was never able to get the soaked infield back into playable shape.

The teams and Major League Baseball officials talked past 1 a.m. local time, at which time Giants manager Bruce Bochy, Cubs manager Rick Renteria and the umpires came back out to examine the field for a third time. After a long conversation with Bochy, home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt signaled at 1:16 a.m. that the Cubs had won.

The Giants will likely protest the game, a team official said. Bochy, still livid from the tough loss, said he was "probably not in the right frame of mind" to discuss such a step during a quick postgame session with reporters.

"I'm frustrated. Beside myself," he said. "(A protest) is my last (recourse). I hope they listen and watch what happened there because in this day and time it shouldn't happen -- can't happen, I think, with the importance of these games. I'm going to leave it at that."

A team official said a protest would be based on the fact that the Giants were told everything possible would be done to finish the game, and they believed that wasn't ultimately the case. The controversial loss left the Giants 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers and in a tie with the Atlanta Braves for the second National League wild-card spot.


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The Cubs took an early two-run lead when Anthony Rizzo crushed a Ryan Vogelsong pitch deep to right. The Giants put a runner on in each of the first five innings, but couldn't score. Angel Pagan hit a one-out double in the fifth, but Hunter Pence flew out and then Buster Posey popped out as the first drops started to fall. The Giants warmed up for the bottom of the fifth, but the rain grew heavier by the moment and the players were pulled off the field just as Vogelsong finished his warm-up throws.

The grounds crew, after getting a late start, had trouble pulling the wet tarp over portions of the infield and needed several minutes and a couple of different tries to get the tarp in place. With two large patches of dirt exposed to the downpour, fans at Wrigley started chanting: "Pull! Pull! Pull!" Eventually the entire infield was covered by the blue tarp.

It rained for about 15 minutes, and when the tarp was pulled, it was clear that plenty of damage had occurred as the members of the grounds crew struggled with the tarp. The entire left side of the infield was under standing water and a large, deep puddle had formed where the second baseman would normally stand.

Over an hour and a half later, the managers and the umpires walked the infield to examine the dirt. The left side of the infield wasn't fit for play and the rakes and bags of dirt came back out for another round of grooming.

"You know what, the field, it got in bad shape there," Bochy said. "It wasn't quite playable and like I said, it was a 15-minute rain there and they couldn't get the tarp on in time. I just think ... something (more) should have been done."

Another 45 minutes went by before the managers and umpires came out again to kick and test the dirt around the shortstop area. Eventually, Pablo Sandoval, Matt Duffy and Ron Wotus came out to test the track, but none seemed overly optimistic. When a Giant threw a ball to Wotus as he neared left field, the ball stopped dead in the dirt between second and third.

"It was soft. The field was soft," Wotus said. "That's all I really have to say."

Both teams waited in the dugouts for a couple of hours and several hundred fans gathered behind the visiting dugout. Angel Pagan signed autographs and Pablo Sandoval took selfies with fans as a lone grounds crew worker raked a field that looked nearly pristine, but was spongy when stepped on.

Vogelsong had long since given up on returning to the mound, but he hoped his teammates would get a shot, to "play and give us a chance."

The Giants never got the opportunity to come back. More than four hours after the rain stopped, the game was called.

The game was the first to be suspended at Wrigley Field since July 10, 1987. That contest was called due to darkness with the Cubs and Dodgers tied in the bottom of the ninth. It was concluded the next day.

This wasn't the first time rain led to a controversial delay in a game between the Giants and Cubs. A 1999 game at Wrigley Field was postponed because of the "threat" of rain, causing Peter Magowan, the Giants' co-owner at the time, to declare the Cubs were running a "bush-league-type operation." The Giants believed the Cubs postponed that game not because it was supposed to rain, but because they wanted to give extra rest to injured starter Kevin Tapani.

This March, a spring training game between the Giants and Cubs was canceled because the field at the Cubs' new facility in Mesa was ruled unplayable after a short storm. The grounds crew incorrectly emptied the tarp that day and too much of the field was left soaked.

Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean spent the last chunk of Tuesday's delay in the dugout, hoping for a chance to go for a much-needed win. Bochy said he was told the Cubs "were going to do all they can to get this going."

"Things shut down," he said. "It's a long and frustrating night. Hopefully (MLB will) look at it and maybe listen. I don't know what other recourse we can take. It's a tough night for everybody.".

For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ AlexPavlovic.

WEDNESDAY'S GAME
Giants (Jake Peavy 2-12) at Chicago Cubs (Edwin Jackson 6-13), 5:05 p.m. CSNBA

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Season likely over for Hector Sanchez. PAGE 3