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Forecast: Game Five finish possible WORLD SERIES: Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia * Resuming Game Five Time: 8:37 p.m. * TV: Ch. 29 * Score tied 2-2 in bottom of 6th inning

There was no way to play here Tuesday because an ark would have been the most suitable form of transportation to Citizens Bank Park. So the first suspended World Series game in baseball history remains a work in progress.

Early in the afternoon, Major League Baseball officials postponed the resumption of Game Five. They're going to try again tonight at 8:37. The Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays are tied at 2-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth.

The Phillies need just one more win to wrap up the second title in franchise history and their first since 1980. Phils manager Charlie Manuel wants his players to keep their focus on that fact and not get distracted by one of the oddest scenarios in World Series history.

"We've got 3 1/2 innings of baseball, we get to bat four times, they get to bat three," Manuel said Tuesday as the managers held conference calls. "We get 12 outs and they get nine. We are definitely coming with the mindset that we will win."

"It's kind of like overtime in a sense, or 'sudden victory,' " Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We're almost at that point."

The rain poured and the wind howled all day Tuesday, just as it did Monday night when the game was mercifully stopped at 10:40 p.m.

The weather is supposed to be better tonight: temperatures in the low
40s, 15-20 mph winds and only a 30 percent chance of rain.

Assuming the game goes on, the big story is that the Phillies have lost ace Cole Hamels. He is slated to bat leadoff in the bottom of the sixth and Manuel will pinch hit for him.

"I felt like he definitely was on course to go like at least seven innings, more like eight," Manuel said. "He was our best pitcher and we were going to try to get the most out of him."

The Rays are happy to see the Philly ace out of the game.

"That's a pretty good feeling, obviously," Maddon said. "He has been so good, and to scratch out the runs that we've had has been very difficult. . . . I think us coming back like we did and sitting on it for a day or two possibly could weigh in our favor."

No players came to the ballpark Tuesday. Commissioner Bud Selig spoke on ESPN's "SportsCenter" Tuesday night and defended the fact that only the managers and general managers seemed to know going into Monday's game that a decision would not be rendered via a rain-shortened contest.

Most players, fans and media were under the impression the Phillies needed only to get the final out of the sixth to preserve their 2-1 lead and win the championship.

"I didn't want any travesties," Selig said. "The World Series is something you strive for all your lifetime. And we should not in any way, shape, form or manner shorten a game. There are ways. You just have to have patience and we should play nine innings."

Maddon said he will be saving starters James Shields and Matt Garza for Games Six and Seven. Grant Balfour is currently in the game and lefty David Price is likely to face Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, who will be the fourth and fifth Phillies hitters when play resumes.

Manuel did not speak to reporters after play was suspended Monday and acknowledged Tuesday that he was aggravated by the situation.

"I was upset with some of the things that went on," Manuel said. "But I definitely agreed that the game had to be stopped. The conditions were definitely unplayable."

This is the first multi-day postponement due to rain since a three-day delay before Game Six of the 1975 Series in Boston -- the game that featured Carlton Fisk's famous 12th-inning home run against Cincinnati.

The logistics have been complicated by a physicians convention that has booked most hotel rooms in Philadelphia. The Rays checked out of the downtown Westin, expecting a flight back to St. Petersburg, and had to scurry to find 100 rooms when the suspension took place. They landed at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Del., about 25 miles south.

The craziest part of all this? By Friday, temperatures are going to get back into the 60s. And it will be dry.

Happy Halloween, baseball.

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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