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This Game Gets Put on Hold

Baseball: Rain comes with Dodgers leading Giants, 3-2, in the sixth. It will be resumed today.

April 13, 2000|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO — The Dodgers ruined the opening party at Pacific Bell Park, receiving a surprising three-homer performance from Kevin Elster.

Rain was the problem Wednesday.

The second regular-season game at the Giants' new home was suspended during the sixth inning with the Dodgers leading, 3-2.

The game will be picked up today at 5 p.m. with the Giants hitting in the bottom of the sixth, followed by the scheduled final game of the series.

The grounds crew covered the field at 8:56 p.m., and fans ran for cover at the $319-million ballpark. The delay lasted 1 hour 38 minutes before the decision was made to suspend the game.

Moments before the delay, the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead on Adrian Beltre's sacrifice fly after they loaded the bases for the third time against Giant starter Joe Nathan.

Shawn Green doubled, Nathan hit Eric Karros with a pitch and walked Todd Hundley. Beltre sent the ball to deep center, and Green scored easily.

Darren Dreifort was pitching well after a rocky performance in his first start. The right-hander gave up only two hits and two runs (one earned).

Dreifort walked eight in his first start, a 2-1 loss to the New York Mets at Shea Stadium last Friday. He experienced command problems during his first two seasons in the rotation, but his season-opening outing was surprising after his strong exhibition performance.

The problem?

Dreifort worked on six days' rest because Manager Davey Johnson arranged the rotation to have him face the Mets. He was successful against the Mets last season, and Johnson hoped to help Dreifort start fast.

The plan backfired. The extra rest made Dreifort stronger, and that affected his command.

"He was just too hopped up," pitching coach Claude Osteen said. "We tried to prepare him during the week with some extra work, but he was just raring to go too much."

The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead with runs in the second and third, but they could have had bigger innings after loading the bases.

Green singled to start the second and stole second with Karros batting, his first stolen base with the Dodgers. Then Nathan got wild, walking Karros and Hundley to load the bases with none out.

Nathan worked out of the jam cheaply. Beltre grounded into a double play, and Green scored to give the Dodgers the lead. Elster struck out to end the inning.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in the third. Todd Hollandsworth doubled, Nathan walked Grudzielanek and Sheffield reached first when his popup in shallow right eluded three Giants.

Hollandsworth scored the second run on Green's sacrifice fly.

Rich Aurilia's second homer of the season cut the Dodgers' lead to 2-1 in the third. His leadoff blast to left was the first hit against Dreifort.

Dreifort retired the first six batters he faced, and the side in order after Aurilia's homer. He wasn't as sharp in the fourth, and didn't get much help defensively.

Bill Mueller walked to open the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Catcher Hundley, apparently surprised by the pitch, got his glove on the ball, and it could have been scored a passed ball.

The Giants tied the score, 2-2, on Barry Bonds' hard grounder to first that Karros couldn't handle. Mueller scored from second on Karros' error.

Dreifort settled down, retiring the next three batters. He mixed his pitches and kept the Giants off-balance.

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