AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals' game against the Tampa Bay Rays was postponed on Thursday after heavy rain turned to sleet and snow during the middle of the fourth inning.
No makeup date has been set. The Rays don't return to Kansas City again this season.
The temperature was 41 degrees with winds gusting to 31 mph and rain just beginning to fall when the Royals' Ervin Santana threw the first pitch. The conditions continued to deteriorate as some of the players, dressed in stocking caps and gloves, ran in place to stay warm.
When snow starting to fall, the creative team operating Kauffman Stadium played the Yule Log on the massive video screen in center field and the "Let It Snow" on the loudspeakers.
The game was delayed 2 hours, 20 minutes when the umpires finally called it.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead on Alex Gordon's RBI single in the third inning, and the umpires were straining to reach the fifth inning and put the game in the books. They finally decided they could no longer allow the game to continue when the sleet picked up.
None of the statistics will count.
The options for a makeup date are not particularly appealing.
Two mutual days off would force the Royals to play more than 20 consecutive days, and July 29 would mean the Royals would have to swing home between games in Chicago and Minnesota, and the Rays would have to stop by while traveling from New York to Tampa.
The Royals play at Tampa Bay from June 14-16.
Kansas City has had three games postponed due to weather this season, and another that was set back a couple days by the search for the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings last month.
The Rays had a game against Boston rained out on April 12.
There was some hope that Thursday's game would resume, even while fat flakes started to stick on the outfield grass and Kauffman Stadium started to resemble an enormous snow globe.
While the game was suspended, the grounds crew got creative to prepare the field for a window that would allow its completion. First, they used a couple of big fans to blow air under the tarp and dry out the infield dirt. Then, they peeled back half of the tarp and prepped one half of the infield, recovered it, and peeled back the other half to do the same thing.
They even managed to paint fresh lines during a short period of light precipitation before the freezing rain picked up again and the tarp went back over the field.
When the delay reached the 2-hour mark, the rain turned to snow, and members of the Rays and Royals started popping up in their dugouts to take pictures of the flakes falling.
The last time there was measurable snow in May in Kansas City? Try May 3, 1907.
The high temperature barely eked over 40 degrees, and that was overnight, breaking the record for the coldest high temperature on May 2 of 48 degrees set in 1917.
It could be even worse on May 3, too.
The White Sox are due in town Friday night to start a three-game series, but the forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 30s and a 50 percent chance of precipitation at first pitch.
NOTES: RHP Jeremy Guthrie is scheduled to pitch the Royals' series opener Friday against the White Sox, who have not announced their starter. ... Rays LHP Matt Moore takes the mound in their series opener at Colorado. ... Tampa Bay is 4-11 on the road, its worst start since going 2-13 in 2005.
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