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Dodgers defeat Angels, 9-8, in second Freeway Series exhibition

A.J. Ellis hits a grand slam and Luis Cruz has a two-run double. Fans get a first look at Dodger Stadium's new $100-million renovation.

March 29, 2013|By Jim Peltz
  • A.J. Ellis, left, is congratulated by teammate Mark Ellis after hitting a grand slam during the Dodgers' 9-8 victory over the Angels in the second game of the Freeway Series on Friday.
A.J. Ellis, left, is congratulated by teammate Mark Ellis after hitting… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

As fans arrived at Dodger Stadium's loge-level entrance in the right-field corner Friday, many formed an impromptu line to snap photos of themselves in front of a 10-foot-high figure of the team's iconic "LA" logo.

The figure is one small touch in the $100-million renovation of the stadium, where workers were still hanging signs, sweeping stairs and tinkering with wiring up until the Dodgers took the field against the Angels in their exhibition Freeway Series.

"We have a lot of polishing and tweaking still to do" before the Dodgers' season opener against the San Francisco Giants at the 51-year-old stadium Monday, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. "But over the weekend we're going to work hard on it."

The 34,157 who came to see the game — the Dodgers beat the Angels, 9-8 — got their first look at the ballpark's wider concourses, upgraded restrooms and new plazas.

The concourses have been widened about 10 feet, and fans also will notice stand-up drink rests and circular tables along many of the concourses.

Dodger Stadium also has new high-definition video screens behind the right- and left-field pavilions.

The Dodgers did a celebratory switch to the new screens from the old ones in the fourth inning Friday.

But other things appeared little changed, particularly the concession lines.

In the third inning, there were at least eight people in each of the lines for Dodger Dogs and other food items at each of the concession stands on the field level behind home plate and third base.

It was the same on the first-base side of the reserve level. In the same area, the lines for the Elysian Park Grill were 12 deep.

However, the lines had shortened considerably by the sixth inning.

Kasten said before the game that the Dodgers would monitor how the renovations affected the fans' experience, including "what concession stands are going to be more popular than others," and then make adjustments to improve flow.

In Friday's game, the Dodgers jumped on Angels starter Jason Vargas for eight runs in 1 2/3 innings, including A.J. Ellis' grand slam and Luis Cruz's two-run double.

But the Angels tagged Dodgers starter Josh Beckett for seven runs in his four innings of work, including a three-run home run by Mike Trout. Beckett, 32, also had allowed seven runs in his prior outing against the Oakland Athletics.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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