Dodgers-Padres Game Suspended in Wee Hours

On a night the rain wouldn't end, it became the game that wouldn't end. The Dodgers played deep into Friday night, and early Saturday morning, at San Diego in a game that could destroy a pitching staff, or could rally a team, or could have ever-lasting effects on a pennant race in September. It was supposed to start at 7:05 p.m.

It never ended, as it was finally suspended for the night at 1:41 a.m. with the score tied 2-2. Play will resume at 5:35 p.m. today, before the teams' regularly scheduled game.

There was three rain delays totaling three hours and nine minutes.

One of the heroes of the night was Ted Lilly.

Despite a 94-minute rain delay -- the second delay of the night -- Lilly didn't want to depart his second start after one inning and 13 pitches. Lilly saved the Dodgers bullpen from needing to throw seven or eight innings on a long, wet, cold night in San Diego.

The record will show Lilly didn't get out of the fifth inning for a second consecutive start, departing with a 1-1 score, one out, and runners at second and third. Mike MacDougal allowed an RBI groundout for a 2-1 San Diego lead before getting out of the inning without further damage.

Still, Lilly's insistence on pitching after the delay (Padres starter Clayton Richard did not return) is a gutsy, team-first move that made his final line secondary. He saved the bullpen. He gave his team a chance to win.

The umpires and grounds crew gave both teams plenty of chances to win.

The first rain delay was 28 minutes before the game even started. It actually wasn't raining. That was in anticipation of rain arriving. The second delay was 1:34, which is what Lilly waited through.

The third delay was 1:07 minutes. Kenley Jansen replaced MacDougal after that one ended.

Matt Kemp possibly saved a rain-shortened loss. His two-out single in the sixth off Chad Qualls tied the game at 2. If the score was 2-1 at that point and the game was called, it would have been a loss for Los Angeles.

The Dodgers are carrying 11 pitchers now (four starters and seven relievers). When they add a fifth starter Sunday -- likely John Ely, possibly Tim Redding -- they will drop a position player and go with 12 pitchers.

Biggest issue at Dodger Stadium off the field
One week into the season, the Dodgers on-field product is once again overshadowed by what's happened off the field. Only this time, it's not the contentious divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt.

It's the continued outpouring of disgust at the thugs who put a Giants fan into a coma on Opening Day, and the larger picture of how unsafe even Dodger fans have felt over the last decade at Dodger Stadium.

Bryan Stow, a paramedic from Santa Cruz and married father of two, remains in a medically induced coma. He suffered a severe skull fracture and bad bruising to his brain's frontal lobes, when two attackers wearing Dodger clothing struck him from behind.

Stow hit his head on the concrete, and the attackers continued the savage beating as he lay on the ground. Doctors removed the left side of his skull to relieve pressure on his swollen brain.

The reward is up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the culprits. Police have followed up on dozens of leads and released a composite sketch of the two suspects.

Even if the two attackers are caught, Stow's life will never be the same, and longtime fans say Dodger Stadium hasn't been the same in a long time.

Many blame the gangbanger element that adopted the Raiders as their team in the 1980s and 1990s, then transferred their allegiance to the Dodgers when the Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995.

Even those who aren't fighting often drink excessively and use profane language that makes parents uncomfortable.

Fan safety has become the No. 1 pressing issue inside the offices at Chavez Revine, and the team on Wednesday hired former Los Angeles police chief William J. Bratton to improve security policies and fan services at Dodger Stadium.

"Bill Bratton is widely credited with spearheading modern community policing in America," owner Frank McCourt said in a release. "There is no one better to lead a top-to-bottom review of our current practices and make recommendations to be implemented now and into the future. ... We are committed to ensuring that Dodger Stadium remains a family-friendly environment for all baseball fans."

Bratton, 63, was chief of the LAPD from 2002 until his resignation in 2009. He previously served as commissioner of the New York and Boston police departments.

Dodger Stadium already was one of the most heavily secured ballparks in baseball. Even having 50,000 security officers every night wouldn't stop all the violence, so how much Bratton can do remains to be seen. It's another step in the right direction though.

Like most teams, the Dodgers stop alcohol sales in the seventh inning. Unlike most teams, they don't allow tailgating in the parking lots, so the customers don't spend 2-3 hours in a parking lot before a game drinking.

However, residents around the ballpark contend what this did, along with the increase in parking prices from $7 to $15 a few years back, is send rowdy fans into the nearby neighborhoods for pre-game drinking.

The unruly fans leave empty alcohol containers, urinate on lawns, and remain loud deep into the night after games.

Of course, Dodger Stadium isn't the only sporting venue in Southern California that has been an increase in violence.

Lakers fans overturned cars and looted around the Staples Center downtown after the last two NBA titles.

A man was stabbed to death at an Angels game last year in Anaheim.

The USC-UCLA football game -- held at the suburban Rose Bowl in Pasadena, not the Coliseum in South Central -- was marred by fights, excessive drinking, vomiting and unruly behavior.

On Wednesday night, as the Dodgers were flying from Denver to San Diego after getting swept two games at Coors Field, a group of Los Angeles residents held a candlelight prayer vigil at USC-Medical Center for Stow.

Many who attended wore Dodgers clothing, decried the violence, and tried to rally support for safer sporting venues. As the John Lennon song "Imagine" blasted from the loudspeakers, Stow's family cried and held onto one another for support.

NOTES, QUOTES
--3B Casey Blake scored the Dodgers' first two runs with some rare baserunning prowess. He was the front end of a double steal in the fourth inning. When Padres C Nick Hundley's throw went to second base, and then into center field, Blake was told by third base coach Tim Wallach to get up and score. Then in the sixth, Blake reached on an infield single, went to second on a passed ball and scored on Matt Kemp's soft single to left.

--RHP Jon Garland knows he has little chance of talking the Dodgers into letting him start Sunday in San Diego against the Padres. Instead, he will make a rehab start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Garland said, in his mind, it's "100 percent" that he would start for the Dodgers on April 15 (the next time around in the rotation for his spot). "They'll have a fight on their hands" if he doesn't make that start, said Garland, who opened the season on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique muscle.

--RHP Hiroki Kuroda, who starts Saturday against the Padres, has a career ERA almost a full run higher (4.61) against the Padres than his overall career mark (3.86). Like most pitchers in the National League, Kuroda is happy that former San Diego 1B Adrian Gonzalez is now in Boston. Gonzalez had three doubles, two home runs, five RBI, six walks and a 1.066 OPS against Kuroda in 29 plate appearances.

--RHP Zach Lee, the Dodgers' first-round pick last year who chose baseball over being LSU's quarterback, thanks to a $5.25 million signing bonus, pitched four scoreless innings in his pro debut for low Class A Great Lakes. Lee struck out five, walked three and allowed two hits.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Hits by Padres C Nick Hundley, in 13 at-bats, against LHP Ted Lilly. He struck out in both at-bats against Lilly on Friday, giving him nine strikeouts in those 13 at-bats.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's hard when you don't know how much of it went on. You have no idea of how long it went on, how much of it went on, how much it changed it. It puts that doubt in your mind of what was through hard work and what came through not totally his abilities." -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, on the sudden retirement of former Los Angeles LF Manny Ramirez, who retired rather than face a reported 100-game suspension for failing a second performance-enhancing-drug test.

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