By the time Adrian Beltre stepped to the plate with the bases loaded well past midnight, Yankee Stadium was nearly deserted. So could he hear his 9-year-old son cheering for him to get a hit?
"Clearly," Beltre said.
The Texas Rangers wrapped up a weird win at 2:44 a.m. Tuesday, rallying after a rain delay of more than 3½ hours in the ninth inning to beat the New York Yankees 9-6 with maybe 100 fans left in the stands.
The ballpark was so empty that shouts from Texas players hollering in the dugout for Beltre's go-ahead, two-run single could easily be heard bouncing around the yard.
"The wait, it was worth it," Beltre said.
Texas trailed 6-5 when Kirby Yates replaced closer Aroldis Chapman after the delay with a runner on first and no outs. Yates (2-1) hit three batters, and Beltre and Elvis Andrus each hit a two-run single.
By then, the cleaning crews had already started their work in the upper decks.
Rain-themed songs wafted over the sound system while showers fell during the break of 3 hours, 35 minutes. A half-dozen policemen without slickers or umbrellas got soaked while ringing the field, ensuring nobody tried to slide on the tarp — no one did.
"To me, the game should've been stopped earlier than that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We played in horrible conditions, and I think you risk injuries to players. And we saw a bunch of their outfielders slip.
"It's hard for me to understand what happened tonight, how it got to this point. But it did and we lost."
Texas manager Jeff Banister didn't want to quibble with how the umpires handled the weather.
"What matters is they allowed this game to be completed," he said. "There's obviously agitation on both sides."
Umpire crew chief Paul Nauert said "our job is to try to get the game in. Just to cut it short for rain is not something that we're doing. We take that integrity part of it very seriously."
"You've got to give both teams an equal, fair opportunity," he said. "We were going to wait as long as we could."
It was nowhere near the longest rain delay at this stadium. Two months after it opened in 2009, the start of a game against Washington was delayed 5½ hours.
There is no official record of the longest rain delay in major league history.
The start of a pennant-race game in 1999 between Cincinnati and the Brewers at Milwaukee was held up 5 hours, 47 minutes. In 2013, a Royals-Cardinals game in St. Louis was delayed 4 hours, 32 minutes, in the ninth inning and finished at 3:14 a.m.
Chapman took over to begin the ninth and, pitching in steady showers on a slippery mound, issued a leadoff walk to Robinson Chirinos. When the count went to 3-1 on Shin-Soo Choo, Girardi emerged from the dugout to talk with the umpires.
After a brief discussion with the other umps, Nauert signaled for the tarp at 10:40 p.m. The game resumed at 2:15 a.m.
Tony Barnette (5-2) got the win and Sam Dyson earned his 16th save. Texas won its third in a row and became the first team in the majors to reach 50 victories this year.
It was the latest ending at the new Yankee Stadium. A 19-inning game against Boston in 2015 briefly delayed by a power outage ended at 2:13 a.m.
Ian Desmond and Rougned Odor homered for Texas. Mark Teixeira homered for the second straight day and got three hits for the Yankees.
The start of the game was delayed 21 minutes because rain was in the area, but not a drop fell at the stadium until the middle innings.
The grounds crew worked on the field a couple of times in the late innings. They tried before the top of the ninth to keep a messy diamond in playable shape, drawing a cheer from the crowd.
Carlos Beltran singled three times as the designated hitter while Alex Rodriguez sat for the second straight day. With the Yankees hovering around .500, team management indicated the slumping A-Rod could be sitting more often.
"I want to be a contender, not a pretender," general manager Brian Cashman said.
The Yankees sent 1B Ike Davis outright to Triple-A. They signed him earlier this month and he went 3 for 14 with an RBI in eight games.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (8-1, 2.79 ERA) has won eight straight road decisions since last August.
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (5-4, 2.71) turned his right ankle in his previous start, and Girardi said there's still "some concern" over how he's feeling.