WASHINGTON (AP) — The stadium darkened for a third time, and Yunel Escobar couldn't help showing his frustration.

Washington's third baseman dropped to his knees next to the bag, knowing that yet another delay was upcoming in this on-again, off-again clash between the Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers.

A game delayed three times because of a lighting malfunction was suspended after five innings Friday night with the Nationals leading the Dodgers 3-2.

"I've never seen anything like it before," Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann said.

The game is scheduled to resume Saturday at 2:05 p.m. EDT.

Each of the three delays was caused by a bank of lights on the third-base side going out. The first stoppage occurred in the fourth inning and lasted 1 hour, 22 minutes. Play resumed for nine minutes before the lights went out 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 Escobar homered off Chin-Hui Tsao for a 3-2 lead.

After the half inning ended, the Nationals were in the field, poised to start the sixth when that pesky set of lights cut off again. Escobar hit the ground, picked himself up and walked off the field with his teammates for the last time.

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

The first stoppage ultimately forced both starting pitchers out of the game.

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."

Mike Bolsinger of the Dodgers returned after the outage and got two outs to end the fourth inning before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the fifth.

Bolsinger passed the time by signing autographs for the fans during the stoppage.

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

Washington used an RBI groundout by Bryce Harper to go up 1-0 in the third inning.

Adrian Gonzalez answered in the fourth with his 19th homer, a shot into the seats in right field after Zimmermann hit Justin Turner with a pitch.

The scoring plays, however, were overshadowed by the strange stop-and-go pace of the game.

Why did the lights go out? The answer was not immediately evident.

"They were having some talks about breakers, things and computer glitches," Mattingly said. "It was over my head."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: OF Carl Crawford, who's on the 60-day DL with a right oblique strain, will play with Triple-A Oklahoma City through Sunday. "Then we have some decisions to make," Mattingly said. "He will have plenty of at-bats."

Nationals: Washington placed RHP David Carpenter (shoulder inflammation) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 12. ... OF Jayson Werth (broken left wrist) was slated to DH for Class A Potomac in a rehabilitation assignment. He played Thursday and "didn't have any issues coming out of it," according to manager Matt Williams.

ON DECK

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (6-6, 2.85 ERA) starts Saturday night. He's 7-2 lifetime against the Nationals and unbeaten in five starts since Aug. 6, 2010.

Nationals: Doug Fister (3-4, 4.08 ERA) makes his 12th start of the season, only the 8th against a team other than Atlanta. Washington is 4-7 in his 11 outings.