NEW YORK (AP) _ Instead of fighting on the field for the AL East title, the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees spent their time feuding.

Tuesday night's game between the teams was rained out in the bottom of the first inning after a wait of 2 hours, 45 minutes.

During the delay, the teams tried _ unsuccessfully _ to work out a makeup date. Owner George Steinbrenner, meanwhile, said the Yankees had told umpire crew chief Joe Brinkman that the game should have never started at all.

David Cone, who pitched the top of the first, said the Yankees wanted to play a day-night doubleheader Thursday. The Orioles, however, said no to that idea.

``I believe there was talk about a split doubleheader. I don't think it's going to happen,'' Cone said.

Cone was right.

The league said today there would be a ``regular doubleheader'' on Thursday, starting at 4:05 p.m. EDT.

At some point, as AL president Gene Budig, owners' negotiator Randy Levine and the players' union became involved in the talks, the Yankees _ who already have a day-night doubleheader scheduled for Sunday against Boston _ proposed playing a doubleheader today. The AL, however, told the Yankees that the field was too wet to play two games.

The teams are scheduled to play a single game tonight, although scattered showers were in the forecast. The Yankees lead the Orioles by three games.

Earlier this season, after a rainout in Baltimore, the Yankees turned down the Orioles' request for a day-night doubleheader. Asked whether he thought that move prompted the Orioles' reluctance to agree this time, New York general manager Bob Watson said: ``Yes, there's no doubt about it.''

By playing a twi-nighter instead of a split day-nighter, the Yankees will lose ticket money from separate admissions.

No telling yet whether Cone or 19-game winner Mike Mussina, who started Tuesday for the Orioles, will be able to pitch again in the three-game series.

``I definitely don't want to pitch him Thursday if he's stiff tomorrow,'' Orioles manager Davey Johnson said.

Cone said he felt he'd be ready to pitch, but manager Joe Torre said, ``I don't know yet.''

Cone and Mussina, the player representatives for their teams, talked to members of the players' union during the wait.

Steinbrenner said he told the AL office at 5 p.m. EDT that the game should not start because of the rain that had fallen in New York for 20 straight hours.

Steinbrenner also complained that Budig was not at the game to make a decision on whether it should begin.

``I just think that someone from the league office should have been here,'' he said. ``I think he has to get his priorities straight.''

Budig was in Kansas City, Mo., on Monday night to see Paul Molitor get his 3,000th hit. Budig stayed in the Midwest to attend a board meeting of the Ewing M. Kauffman Foundation on Tuesday.

``I agree he should've been there to see the 3,000th hit. But that was yesterday and today was today,'' Steinbrenner said.

The home team usually decides whether a game should begin. But the leagues control that decision anytime a team is visiting a city for the last time in a season.

``The Yankees did not want to play this game,'' Steinbrenner said. ``Absolutely not.''

Brinkman said he was not told by the Yankees that the game should not begin. And he said Budig's attendance would not have changed his approach.

``It wouldn't have made any difference to what I did,'' Brinkman said. ``It still would have been my decision.''

``(The league office) told us to do everything possible to get it in,'' he said. ``With a misty rain like that we've been able to get games in before. I really thought we could get it in.''

Brady Anderson led off for the Orioles. He hit a foul pop that blew back and landed behind catcher Joe Girardi.

``I stood there in the rain and I was getting madder and madder and finally I just started laughing,'' Anderson said. ``Because it was inexplicable that they would start the game in these conditions.''

Cone worked around a one-out double by Roberto Alomar in the top of the first.

Mussina, bidding for his 20th victory, gave up a one-out double to Tim Raines and a walk to Paul O'Neill. Cecil Fielder struck out and Tino Martinez was batting with a 3-1 count when the rain became steady and lightning appeared in the distance, prompting Brinkman to call a halt.