Vin Scully had been silenced. That’s when you knew something had gone haywire.
There was an omen in the first inning. The right-field scoreboard was not working properly. “Technical difficulties,” read the scoreboard message.
On went the game. As Kenta Maeda warmed up for the second inning, a recording of Scully reading a promotion thundered through Dodger Stadium. And then the voice of Scully was abruptly cut off and the stadium went dark, all as if the baseball gods were exacting some sort of retribution upon the home team.
The true story was mundane. According to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the primary power supply gave out.
The game was delayed 23 minutes while the backup power supply kicked in and the stadium lights flickered back to life.
So it was a two-for-one memory for the Dodgers fans in attendance: “I Saw Manny Machado’s Home Debut” and “I Was There The Night The Lights Went Out.”
Said Machado: “First time for everything.”
The game itself was far from irrelevant. If the Dodgers lost and the Arizona Diamondbacks won, the teams would swap places in the National League West standings, with the Diamondbacks jumping past the Dodgers into first place.
The Dodgers had barely resumed their game when — and we are not making this up — the lights went out at Chase Field in Arizona.
That game was delayed 21 minutes.
In the end, the Dodgers were knocked off the power grid in more ways than one, but not at the expense of the division lead. The Dodgers, who lead the National League in home runs, did not hit a home run until the ninth inning. They got all of five hits. They lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2.
The Diamondbacks lost too, and so did the Colorado Rockies. The July 31 trading deadline will dawn with the Dodgers leading Arizona by half a game and Colorado by one game.
The Dodger Stadium crowd booed him, but not heartily, when he entered the game to pitch. The crowd booed much more lustily when he batted, and when the announcement of his name was not drowned out by between-innings programming. Hader pitched two hitless innings.
Machado, playing before a gathering that included 12 fans in blue T-shirts that spelled out “Mannywood 2.0,” had a three-true-outcomes game. He walked two times, struck out two times and hit a solo home run in the ninth inning.
Still, he played before an announced crowd of 44,933, the largest he has played in front of since opening day. His response to an invitation to compare the atmosphere at Dodger Stadium to Camden Yards, the home of his former team, was polite but telling.
“This crowd was definitely electric,” Machado said.
Maeda had all but exhausted himself in the first inning, when he made 34 pitches. The first four batters reached base, but the Brewers managed only one run. With the bases loaded and none out, Maeda struck out Ryan Braun, then got a pop fly from Eric Thames and a fly ball from Manny Pina.
Thames hit a three-run home run in the top of the third inning. The Dodgers scored their first run in the bottom of the inning, when Max Muncy tripled home Machado, but they also left the bases loaded.
They had at least one runner on base in each inning. They drew seven walks. They left 11 men on base.
In the fourth inning, they had runners on second and third with one out. Joc Pederson fouled out.
Up came Machado, looking for that dramatic moment in his Dodgers home debut. His power was out too, and he struck out looking.
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