SAN DIEGO (AP) - Tony Gwynn Jr., of all people, delivered the hit that allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers to finally beat the San Diego Padres in a game that took nearly 24 hours to complete.
Gwynn singled in the go-ahead run against his former team with two outs in the 11th inning Saturday and the Dodgers won 4-2 in a game that had been suspended at 1:40 a.m. after four rain delays totaling 3 hours, 36 minutes.
The game resumed at 5:35 p.m. on a chilly but clear evening, and ended at 6:55 p.m.
Gwynn, the son of Padres Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, entered during a double switch in the bottom of the ninth. With two on in the 11th, he hit a soft liner on a two-strike pitch from sidearmer Pat Neshek that dropped in front of right fielder Will Venable. That brought in Juan Uribe, who was aboard on a leadoff double against Ernesto Frieri (0-1). Gwynn took second on the throw home.
Gwynn, who hit only .204 with the Padres last year, has thought plenty about coming up with big hits at Petco Park.
``I've envisioned it, but it definitely wasn't under the circumstances that we're in now,' Gwynn said. ``Nevertheless, I was blessed to have an opportunity to get up there and perform well.'
After the Padres traded for center fielder Cameron Maybin in November, Gwynn wasn't offered a contract to return. He signed as a free agent with the rival Dodgers.
``It's kind of nice, the fact he played here,' Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. ``You actually think about that a little bit. You don't put him in the spot to do it, but when he actually does it here, it's kind of nice.'
The fans gave Gwynn a mixed reception when he was announced during the double switch.
``I expected that,' he said. ``When the Padres are playing against the Dodgers, it becomes more about the name on the front of the jersey than it does on the back. I wouldn't expect them to do anything different.'
After Uribe doubled, James Loney popped up and pinch-hitter Aaron Miles reached when a breaking ball from Frieri hit him on the bill of his helmet. Frieri made way for Neshek, who struck out Rod Barajas to bring up Gwynn. After Gwynn's single, Miles scored on a wild pitch.
Gwynn said it took a few pitches to get used to Neshek's funky delivery before he hit a changeup.
``I was able to stay back on it long enough and flick it into the outfield,' Gwynn said.
Gwynn ``hit it off the end a little bit, but give him credit,' Padres catcher Nick Hundley said. ``He put the ball in play with two strikes off a tough guy, with tough shadows, tough to see. He sucked it up and got a big hit when they needed it.
``Obviously, he's a great guy. We loved playing with him. We'll be friends again on Monday. But for now, we're competing,' Hundley said. ``We want to get him out every time and unfortunately we didn't.'
Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for his fourth save. Blake Hawksworth (1-0) worked two scoreless innings for the win.
The game started Friday night and was suspended early Saturday with the score tied at 2 after Matt Kemp singled off Heath Bell in the top of the ninth. When it resumed at 5:35 p.m., Uribe grounded into a double play, and Loney and Xavier Paul singled before Barajas hit into a force to end the threat.
The Padres stranded 12 and the Dodgers 10.
The teams followed with their regularly scheduled game.
The Dodgers' first two runs were unearned due to Hundley's throwing error in the fourth inning and passed ball in the sixth on Friday night.
``If I do a better job behind the plate, I don't think it goes that long,' Hundley said. ``I cost us some runs. And we didn't get that one big hit that they did.'
Hundley couldn't recall playing in a suspended game.
``This was weird, but at the same time, both teams are going through it, so it really doesn't matter,' he said.
NOTES: Padres manager Bud Black said LHP Clayton Richard, who pitched just one inning Friday night before a delay of 1 hour, 34 minutes, might pitch as early as Tuesday against Cincinnati. Tim Stauffer, who had been penciled in for Tuesday, might be pushed back to Wednesday afternoon against the Reds. ... Black planned to stay away from lefty reliever Cory Luebke, who pitched four hitless innings Friday, walking two and striking out five.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved