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After four delays, game suspended

After four delays, game suspended

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After four delays, game suspended
SAN DIEGO -- In a mess of a marathon between the Dodgers and Padres, umpire crew chief Ed Rapuano finally suspended Friday's game at 1:40 Saturday morning with a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth inning, the game to be resumed Saturday at 5:35 p.m., followed by the regular scheduled game.

There were four weather delays for a total of three hours and 36 minutes -- beginning at the scheduled start when it wasn't even raining -- but once the game started, so did the rain, and it kept falling throughout the night and early morning.

The game lasted so long, the PETCO Park cleanup crew began work on the deserted upper deck before the game was over. The rest of the stadium was essentially deserted too, as only a few dozen fans remained at the end.

After getting 4 1/3 innings from Ted Lilly, the Dodgers used relievers Mike MacDougal, Kenley Jansen, Matt Guerrier and Hong-Chih Kuo, who retired the only batter he faced and is still in the game. Relievers not yet used are Jonathan Broxton, Blake Hawksworth and Lance Cormier.

Manager Don Mattingly said he'll "have to be careful" with his pitching decisions when the game resumes, saying Kuo might be able to pitch on consecutive games. But he ruled out the possibility that Saturday's scheduled starter, Hiroki Kuroda, would finish up the suspended game and then start the regular one.

Mattingly said he spoke with general manager Ned Colletti about calling up a pitcher, "but we don't have a lot of flexibility" because the Dodgers are already planning on calling up a fifth starter (probably John Ely) for Sunday in place of the disabled Jon Garland.

The Dodgers' erratic offense scored only unearned runs, but Matt Kemp was in the middle of it, going 3-for-3 with a walk. Oddly, two of Kemp's hits were immediately followed by rain delays.

Meanwhile, the Padres -- when they weren't stealing five bases, three by Cameron Maybin -- also took advantage of a Kemp error in a two-run fifth inning.

After the 28-minute cloud delay at the start (officials anticipated rain that arrived later), Padres starter Clayton Richard retired the Dodgers in order in the first inning. The rain came at the end of the first inning, making the grass wet enough for Kemp's first hit to skip past right fielder Will Venable for a double. That was enough for Rapuano to call for the tarp.

When the game restarted 94 minutes later, Lilly returned but Richard didn't restart with it, replaced by Cory Luebke, who wild-pitched Kemp to third, then struck out Juan Uribe, James Loney and Marcus Thames.

After swinging from their heels in the second inning, the Dodgers tried patience with Luebke in the third and scored a run without a hit. Casey Blake and Kemp walked. With Uribe up, Blake got a big jump stealing third and catcher Nick Hundley went for the trailing runner, Kemp, but airmailed his throw to center field as Blake scored.

Meanwhile, Lilly did quite a high-wire act. He stranded runners on the corners in the first inning, a runner on second in the second inning, and runners on second and third in the fourth inning. His out man was Hundley, who struck out in the second and fourth and is 0-for-13 with nine strikeouts lifetime against Lilly.

Mattingly said it wasn't a difficult decision to let Lilly continue after the 94-minute delay.

"It was just him, how he felt, and actually he threw the ball good," he said. "Ted's not a power guy, he didn't stiffen up."

The Dodgers tried to get Lilly through five innings for the win, but the Padres ruined that in the fifth. Venable led off with a single to center, took second when the ball clanged off the heel of Kemp's glove, tagged to third on Jason Bartlett's fly to right and scored the tying run on former Dodger Orlando Hudson's single up the middle with the infield in.

When Jorge Cantu doubled Hudson to third, Mattingly brought in MacDougal. The Padres took the lead on Ryan Ludwick's grounder to short, Loney making a third great dig to prevent a real mess. Chase Headley was walked intentionally and Maybin grounded out.

San Diego's lead was short-lived. Infield singles by Blake and Andre Ethier plus a passed ball by Hundley set up Kemp's tying line single. And when Loney stranded Ethier and Kemp, Rapuano called for the tarp again.

This time the delay was 67 minutes. Two innings later, after another Kemp hit leading off the ninth, Rapuano called for the grounds crew yet again. After 27 more minutes of delay, Rapuano finally called it a night.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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