The Salt Lake Buzz had waited through rain and snow delays this year. They even had a sprinkler delay not too long ago - when the grounds crew in Calgary couldn't get the water in the outfield to shut off.
But the Saturday night was a first. The Buzz and Phoenix Firebirds waited out, well, a "Twister" delay.OK, so there wasn't an actual tornado spotted, but an unusually high wind early in the seventh inning forced the umpires to send the players off the field to take cover. There were no cows being blown through the sky, but there were plenty of hot dog wrappers and such being tossed to and fro.
To make matters worse, the wind blew out the lights. It took 21 minutes to get the lights back up to a bright enough level for the game to begin again.
When the game resumed, Phoenix scored a couple of unearned runs in the eighth inning to come away with a 4-2 victory.
"(The wind) scared those umpires," said Buzz manager Phil Roof. "It was nasty out there for 15 to 20 minutes."
Before and after the wind storm the Buzz struggled offensively. Salt Lake, in fact, has slumped offensively for more than a week - and has a just completed 3-5 homestand to prove it.
"(Buzz hitters) are pressing right now a little bit," said Roof. "This whole homestand hasn't been very productive."
The Buzz managed just six hits against a trio of Firebird pitchers Saturday. About the only Buzzman who did much at the plate was third baseman Tom Quinlan, who got one big hit and was hit twice. Quinlan, who set a Buzz record by getting hit by 14 pitches last season, was plunked two times by the Firebirds. He also hit a tape-measure home run to left in the sixth inning that cleared the Franklin Quest berm, landing on the sidewalk.
Salt Lake pitcher Scott Klingenbeck made his usual quality start only to come away with a no decision again. Klingenbeck hasn't received a decision in his last five starts despite going at least seven innings in each outing. Saturday he gave up two runs on ten hits in seven innings, striking out five, but left the game with the score tied 2-2.
Buzz reliever Scott Watkins' throwing error in the eighth came back to haunt him, as Phoenix scored a pair of unearned runs. Watkins, now 3-4 on the year, suffered the loss.
BUZZ BRIEFS: The crowd of 10,551 was the largest of the season at Franklin Quest Field, some 300 more than opening night, which was the previous season high . . . The Buzz are headed on an eight-game road trip to finish the first half of the split season. While not yet mathematically eliminated from the division title, the fourth-place Buzz would need a near miracle at this point to catch Edmonton and Tacoma. Salt Lake is in Colorado Springs today where they will begin a four-game set at 3 p.m. Buzz lefty Dan Serafini (2-2, 5.26 ERA) is scheduled to start against the RHP John Burke (2-2, 6.03 ERA). The Buzz will finish the first half with four games in Albuquerque . . . Buzz outfielder Steve Hazlett continues to struggle at the plate. His 0-for-3 night Saturday made him 1-for-32 in his last 14 outings (.031) . . . Buzz vice president Robert Urich, a regular at Franklin Quest the past two season, made his first appearance of the year Saturday. The veteran TV star has been busy so far this year filming his new series "The Lazarus Man."