Dodgers-Nationals game suspended due to faulty bank of lights

ByMark Saxon ESPN logo
Saturday, July 18, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers-Washington Nationals game was suspended with no outs in the sixth inning Friday night after a third power outage affected a bank of lights along the third-base line at Nationals Park.

The game is scheduled to resume Saturday at 2:05 p.m., with the Nationals leading, 3-2. The teams have a previously scheduled game set for 4:05 p.m. and received permission from the commissioner's office to have 26 players on their rosters as part of baseball's new doubleheader rules, the Dodgers said.

"They were having some talks about breakers and things and computer glitches," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It was over my head. Hopefully, tomorrow, it's not a factor."

The Nationals said Saturday that the power outage was caused by a faulty circuit breaker.

"It was replaced shortly after midnight and the lights were tested throughout the night with no additional outages," the team said in a statement.

The initial delay, which struck during the bottom of the fourth inning, lasted 1 hour, 22 minutes.

"I've never seen anything like it before," Nationals starterJordan Zimmermannsaid.

Zimmermann allowed two runs and three hits in four innings. He warmed up during the delay, hopeful of getting back in, but once the stoppage reached an hour he knew his outing was over.

"It's unfortunate," Zimmermann said. "I felt pretty good tonight, and then that happened. It's just one of those things that I guess you can't explain."

Play resumed for nine minutes, with Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger returning to retire the last two batters in the fourth inning and then the Dodgers going down in order. Then the lights along the third-base line went dark again.

Los Angeles led 2-1 in the middle of the fifth inning when the second delay occurred. It lasted 40 minutes.

Once the lights went back on, pitcher Tanner Roark doubled, and Yunel Escobar homered off Chin-Hui Tsao for a 3-2 Washington lead.

But the lights went out again after 12 minutes. The umpires, after conferring with Mattingly and Nationals counterpart Matt Williams, then suspended the game.

"After the first, don't know if anyone quite knew what was going on or how long it would take," Mattingly said. "Second time, they felt they kind of knew and said, basically, if it happened again, then we wouldn't finish it."

During the first delay, Bolsinger signed autographs for fans standing near the camera well next to the visitors dugout.

"I thought it was a good way to keep my arm loose," he said. "They were little kids."

The Nationals' mascot, Screech, exchanged some banter with Dodgers relievers, who pelted the bird with objects.

The Nationals showed the St. Louis Cardinals-New York Mets game on the jumbo videoboard, with fans booing the Mets lustily. Some fans, meanwhile, jokingly raised their phones into the air to offer the ballpark some light.

Bolsinger said he could have pitched even with the lights dimmed.

"When the lights are fully on, maybe I need glasses, but I can barely see the signs," Bolsinger said. "Actually, when they dim down like that it's a lot easier to see, to me, but I don't know how it would be to a hitter."

Nationals ace Max Scherzer placed the blame on pop star Taylor Swift, who had concerts at Nationals Park on Monday and Tuesday.

Bryce Harper seemed to place the blame on himself:

The Dodgers also had a short lights-related delay at Wrigley Field this season. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon played that game under protest after umpires resumed the game under dim lighting with Clayton Kershaw pitching, but it proved moot -- Chicago won, 4-2.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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