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Girardi, Levine won't blame MLB for late start

Joe Girardi and team president Randy Levine both absolved Major League Baseball of any wrongdoing in deciding to start Tuesday night's game at 11:08 p.m. after a four-hour, three-minute rain delay.

"Everyone was in a tough spot because there are no really off days left," Girardi said Wednesday. "We're at the end of the season. These games have to be played. I don't know that there was an alternative. I really don't. Were the conditions bad? They weren't great."

Levine issued a statement. "The decision to play Tuesday night's game vs. Baltimore was a collaborative effort between Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees," Levine said. "Every possible effort was made to play the game because there were no suitable alternative dates on which to play a rescheduled game given the poor weather forecast . . . We certainly recognize the inconvenience to our fans and have invited them back to enjoy a future game at Yankee Stadium."

An MLB spokesman said the decision to play was up to the umpires by rule because this series was Baltimore's final visit this season. General manager Brian Cashman also told Newsday, "Last series -- commissioner's office controls the decision-making."

But the Yankees lobbied to not play a doubleheader and MLB factored that in. The Yankees won on Tuesday night, 5-3, in a game that ended at 2:15 a.m. Wedneday, and lost Wednesday's matinee, 5-4, in 11 innings.

Fans with used or unused tickets to Tuesday night's game can exchange them for a non-premium 2012 game, subject to availability. For details, visit www.yankees.com.

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