Lightning bolt stops Twins-Rangers game

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 08, 2012
Talk about an electrifying performance. Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli and Minnesota batter Ryan Doumit quickly scrambled to their respective dugouts and base runner Josh Willingham dropped to his knees when a bolt of lightning struck near Rangers Ballpark during Sunday night's game. The bright flash was immediately followed by a loud clap of thunder. Rangers officials said the lightning struck north of stadium and didn't hit the facility. There were no reports of damage or any injuries. While there were scattered storms in the surrounding area, no rain was falling when the lightning and thunder jolted everyone in the ballpark in the top of the fourth inning. ''That's the loudest noise I've ever heard. I thought Jesus was comin!,'' Twins center fielder Denard Span tweeted during the ensuing delay. Rangers right-hander Roy Oswalt was on the rubber preparing to throw a pitch when the flash and sound caused him to cringe. Napoli immediately took off running toward the dugout, as did Doumit. Willingham dropped in a heap, and first base coach Jerry White also squatted low before scrambling off the field. Umpire crew chief Jeff Kellogg, who was at first base, immediately stopped the game and got the players off the field. At least the players who hadn't already left on their own. The grounds crew pulled the tarp over the infield, fighting gusty winds to get it in place. It started to rain about 10 minutes after play was stopped. ''My heart stopped when I heard the thunder at the stadium. Glad no one heard me scream like a little girl too!! Lol,'' Twins right fielder Ben Revere tweeted. Once in the dugout, Napoli was seen smiling while explaining himself to teammates. Just before the game resumed following a 46-minute delay, when blue skies were again visible through some of the clouds, Rangers first baseman Michael Young was laughing while talking with Willingham and White, who by then had smiles on their faces. Chuck Morgan, the longtime public address announcer for the Rangers, asked fans to thank the grounds crew after the delay which started after what he called the loudest thunder clap ever heard at Rangers Ballpark. On the first pitch thrown by Oswalt when the game resumed, Doumit grounded into an inning-ending double play. There had been a lightning flash and some thunder an inning earlier, and fans had been warned of the possibilities of storms in the area.
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