Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bullpen unable to close opener despite Kemp's 3 RBIs

New shortstop Jimmy Rollins' three-run homer off Shawn Kelley with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning on Monday powered the Dodgers to a 6-3 Opening Day comeback win over the Padres, who were led by former Dodger Matt Kemp's three RBIs.
Starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and James Shields both pitched six innings and had no-decisions. Kershaw allowed three runs with nine strikeouts, Shields two runs with eight strikeouts. Joel Peralta got the win in relief, Chris Hatcher his first career save, both in their Dodgers debuts.
Kemp singled in a run to defeat a defensive shift in the first inning and doubled home two with two outs in the fifth inning after Clint Barmes' double andDerek Norris' infield single. Adrian Gonzalez, who had three hits, slugged a tying home run, Howie Kendrick followed with a triple lost in the sun by center fielder Wil Myers and was doubled home by Carl Crawford. The Dodgers tied the game in the seventh off reliever Nick Vincent on back-to-back doubles by Gonzalez and Kendrick.
A warm welcome for Kemp, but … Kemp's warm welcome back in his return to Dodger Stadium -- one that included a standing ovation before his first at-bat -- didn't last long. He knocked in the first run of the game, punching a ball up the middle to score Myers. He was then booed before his second at-bat. More »
No power outage: After out-homering the opposition, 49-24, in Spring Training, the Dodgers left the yard twice on Monday, and seven of their nine hits went for extra bases.
About those newcomers: Seven of general manager A.J. Preller's acquisitions were in the starting lineup on Monday. Shields had some smooth sailing until the fourth inning. Barmes had a double, Norris had two hits, Justin Upton struck out twice and Kemp, of course, had two big hits, knocking in three runs. Kelley didn't fare well, allowing the home run to Rollins in the eighth inning. More »
Pin cushion: Yasiel Puig, who led the Dodgers in being hit by pitches last year with 12, was hit on the top of the left hand by a Shields fastball in the fifth inning. Myers was hit by a Kershaw 0-2 slider leading off the game.
"We embrace the expectations. We view it as a positive," Padres manager Bud Black said before the game when asked if the team's revamped roster -- 15 new faces on the Opening Day roster compared with 2014 -- has raised the bar in terms of the expectations from the team.
"That was a sigh of relief for me. They gave me a lead and I wasn't able to hold it." -- Kershaw on Rollins' home run
In all of his 27 starts a year ago, Kershaw allowed a total of seven first-inning runs. On Monday, the Padres managed to nick him for one, utilizing a hit-by-pitch, stolen base and a seeing-eye single to do so. Hey, it all counts, right?
Puig, who was late for stretching at last year's Opening Day, arrived at Dodger Stadium on Monday at 7:25 a.m. PT for the 1:10 p.m. start.
The Dodgers won their fifth consecutive season opener.
Much has been made about the Padres' bullpen, one of their strengths heading into the season. But the bullpen struggled Monday, as Vincent allowed the game-tying run in the seventh inning after Shields left and then Kelley allowed the home run to Rollins in the eighth inning, as the Padres never did get the ball -- and the lead -- to new closer Craig Kimbrel.
Black issued a manager's challenge of Puig's stolen base in the eighth inning and successfully got the call overturned for the second out of the inning. Puig was initially ruled safe on his steal of second base even though Norris' throw to Barmes -- and the tag -- appeared to beat Puig to the bag.
Padres: The Padres give the ball to Tyson Ross on Tuesday. He was an All-Star for the first time in 2014, winning 13 games. If he hadn't pitched for the team with the worst offense in baseball, he might have won in upward of 18 games. Look for shortstop Alexi Amarista to get his first start, especially with a right-handed pitcher going for the Dodgers. Game time is 7:10 p.m. PT.
Dodgers: Zack Greinke starts for the Dodgers, facing Major League hitters for the first time since March 27. Former Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, acquired in the Kemp trade, is expected to get his first regular-season start for the Dodgers behind the plate.

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