Thursday, April 9, 2015

Indians' no-hit bid broken up on Lowrie's homer in 9th

 After right-hander Trevor Bauer went six no-hit innings against the Astros on Thursday, the Indians' bullpen took over, but closer Nick Hagadone could not complete the feat after allowing a one-out homer to Jed Lowrie in the ninth inning of the Tribe's 5-1 win.
Bauer threw 111 pitches in his season debut, allowing five walks while striking out a career-high 11 batters. Kyle Crockett (seventh) and Scott Atchison(eighth) each tossed a no-hit frame before Hagadone allowed the Astros' lone hit and run.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bauer outage: For the first time in Indians history, a pitcher was removed from a game after the fifth inning with a no-hitter intact. Bauer was overpowering, but effectively wild, pushing his pitch count well over the century mark. He kept Houston's hitters guessing throughout the afternoon, leaving it to the bullpen to finish on his historic path.
Oh no, Wojo: Making his first Major League appearance, right-hander Asher Wojciechowski struggled with his command and couldn't get out of the fifth inning. He went four-plus innings and gave up four runs and eight hits, including homers to Roberto Perez and Jose Ramirez while throwing 88 pitches.
Inside job: In the second inning, Perez drove a pitch from Wojciechowski to right field, and Yan Gomes attempted to score from second. Astros right fielder George Springer made a perfect throw to the plate, and Gomes looked to be out by a few steps. Gomes then made a quick move to the inside of the plate, sliding just beyond the reach of Houston catcher Hank Conger for the Tribe's second run.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Bauer's pitching line was extremely unique in terms of baseball history. It marked the first time since at least 1914 that a pitcher struck out at least 11 with no hits allowed in no more than six innings of work.
• Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco struck out 10 batters in Wednesday's win over the Astros. Combined with Bauer's showing, Cleveland had starting pitchers turn in double-digit strikeout games in consecutive April games for the first time since April 15-16 in 1966.
REPLAY REVIEW
Astros manager A.J. Hinch's first replay review was an unsuccessful one. Hinch challenged a routine out call at first base at the end of the sixth inning, contending Indians first baseman Carlos Santana's foot came off the bag while stretching to catch a throw on a ball off the bat of Chris Carter. The replay official ruled the call on the field stood.
WHAT'S NEXT
Indians: The Tribe will return home to Cleveland on Friday for its home opener against the American League Central-rival Tigers at 4:10 p.m. ET. Right-hander Zach McAllister is scheduled to start for the Indians in front of a sold-out crowd.
Astros: Houston hits the road this weekend, but it won't leave the state as it opens a three-game series in Arlington against the Rangers at 3:05 p.m. CT on Friday. Collin McHugh, who went 7-0 in his final 10 starts last year, gets the ball for the Astros, who won the season series from Texas last year after losing the previous five years.

Volquez pitches Royals to sweep over White Sox

Right-hander Edinson Volquez, making his Royals debut, pitched eight strong innings and benefited from tremendous defense as the Royals completed a three-game sweep of the White Sox on Thursday with a 4-1 victory.
Closer Greg Holland finished off the ninth for his second save in two days.
Catcher Salvador Perez ripped his first homer of the season for the Royals, a two-run shot in the sixth that gave the Royals a 4-0 lead.
"If someone were to say we're hitting on all cylinders," manager Ned Yost said, "I'd have to agree."
Alexei Ramirez singled in the lone White Sox run in the seventh inning as the Royals handed starter John Danks his first loss ever to Kansas City after seven wins.
"Definitely, that's what you want to do. Play the game the right way. They play the game hard," said White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton of the Royals. "They're stealing bags. Hosmer's stealing bags. You've got Rios stealing bags, guys bunting guys over, playing great defense, making plays behind the guys.
"Cain making plays, Perez is throwing guys out. They've got a solid team. With that being said, it's a long season."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A day for LoCain: Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain drove in the first run with an RBI groundout in the first, but he also gave the fans a thrill with one outstanding play in center field and another very good one. In the second inning, Cain crashed into the wall robbing Adam LaRoche of extra bases. In the third, he bumped into the wall again after taking a hit away from Micah Johnson.
Volquez was in amazement over his defense in general.
"Unbelievable," he said. "I think we got the best defense in baseball right now. Everybody sees what it did last year. It was great. It gives a lot of confidence to the pitchers."
Burying the lead: Danks was solid through five innings, minus one problem: the leadoff hitter reached base against him four times. The Royals scored only once in those first five, but Cain's leadoff double in the sixth sparked a three-run rally capped off by Perez's two-run homer. The White Sox southpaw exited after 5 2/3 innings and was unable to push his career ledger to 8-0 against the Royals.
"Yeah, I felt like I had better stuff than 5 2/3 innings or whatever it was," said Danks, who exited after just 75 pitches. "Made a couple of mistakes, but was able to also make pitches when I had to. I feel good going into my next one."
A debut to remember: Volquez simply was in control throughout as he gave up one run, walked one and struck out five in eight innings. He threw 95 pitches, 58 for strikes.
"He just had everything working," Yost said. "He was consistently down in the zone with all his pitches."
Added Volquez, "Right now, I'm able to carry over the good things I did last year to this season. I did a pretty good job for Pittsburgh last year and hopefully I can continue doing it over here."
Anything you can do: Adam Eaton was up to the challenge set by two spectacular catches made early in the game by Cain. In the fifth inning, with two outs and Paulo Orlando on third, Eaton made a running, diving catch in center off Mike Moustakas' line drive to save a run. Eaton was an American League Gold Glove finalist last year in center.
QUOTABLE
"This is a team with all 25 guys just trying to win. That's what good teams do and we're a good team." Moustakas on Royals' mindset
Who (cares) about the first three games? I want to be playing hot in September. Who cares about April? We'll get going. We're not worried about it." Eaton on White Sox getting swept
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
For the first time since the 2003 season, the White Sox have opened at 0-3. In a somewhat strange twist, the White Sox also lost those first three games of '03 at Kauffman Stadium. That team, which was to be Jerry Manuel's last on the South Side, won its next four games and finished at 86-76, but did not make the playoffs.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?
For three innings of Thursday's series finale, the White Sox and Royals were without phone communication from the dugout to the bullpen or to their designated replay areas. Managers Robin Ventura and Ned Yost agreed to judge replays by what they saw on the field or how quickly they could get a courier to their replay representatives. The problem was fixed by the bottom of the third.
WHAT'S NEXT
White Sox: The White Sox return for their home opener Friday, with a 3:10 p.m. CT first pitch against the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. Hector Noesi gets the call, after making 27 starts upon joining the White Sox last season, posting a 4.43 ERA over 164 2/3 innings. The White Sox have won seven straight home openers and 12 of their last 13.
Royals: The Royals open a three-game set against the Angels on Friday at 9:05 p.m. CT and will send left-hander Jason Vargas to the mound. Vargas has a 9-3 record with a 2.86 career ERA at Angel Stadium. He's also 5-4 with a 3.02 career ERA against the Angels.

Harvey's 9 K's lead Mets past Strasburg, Nationals

Right-hander Matt Harvey pitched in his first game since Aug. 24, 2013, and he was dominating as the Mets pounded the Nationals, 6-3, on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.
Harvey, who missed all of 2014 because of Tommy John surgery, pitched six shutout innings, allowing four hits while striking out nine batters.
"The excitement of being back on the mound in a regular-season game definitely set in when I was done warming up and walking in," Harvey said. "Once we got three outs in the first, realizing I was about to go out to work was pretty exciting, and a lot of fun."
Harvey's counterpart, Stephen Strasburg, didn't pitch well, he allowed six runs -- three earned -- in 5 1/3 innings.
The Mets ended up winning the series, taking two out of three games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Dark Knight returns: Five hundred and ninety-three days after last appearing in a Major League game, Harvey proved just as dominant as he was throughout 2013. Striking out nine over six shutout innings, Harvey dialed his fastball up to 97 mph, walked just one batter and allowed four hits. The only thing slowing him down was the pitch count the Mets imposed upon him, forcing him out of the game after six.
"It took a while," Harvey said of his return. "But I'm glad I'm finally here."
Nats allergic to RBIs: The Nationals continue to have problems scoring runs. In the three-game series, they went 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position. All three hits came in the third game. The first hit came in the second inning against Harvey. With Ian Desmond on second, Dan Uggla singled to left field, but Desmond was stranded at third base when Jose Lobaton struck out to end the threat.
In the seventh inning and Buddy Carlyle on the mound, Michael Taylor drove in two runs with a double to left-center field, scoring Desmond and Lobaton. In the ninth, and Jeurys Famila on the mound, Desmond came home on a single by Reed Johnson.
"Har-vey's bet-ter": That familiar chant rang out from Mets fans as the Nationals made a pitching change in the sixth inning, taunting Strasburg as he walked off the mound. After the Mets touched Strasburg for four runs in the third inning, three of them unearned thanks to Ian Desmond's error, David Wright added two more on an opposite-field single to chase Strasburg. Mets fans, a vocal minority at Nationals Park, responded with an encore of the chant they first delivered on April 19, 2013, when Harvey beat Strasburg for the first time.
Strasburg not himself: Strasburg had an outing he would like to forget. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed six runs-- three earned -- on nine hits. It didn't help that the Nationals played sloppy defense behind him. Desmond's error in the third inning allowed the Mets to score three unearned runs.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Of the first eight runs the Mets scored this season, six were unearned coming immediately after Desmond errors. The Nationals shortstop ranked second in the Majors with 24 errors last season.
QUOTABLES
"I downplayed the significance before the series and I'm going to downplay it now. It's a series win against an opponent in our division. And as I've said all along, in order to accomplish what we're going to accomplish this year, we've got to take care of business in our division." -- Wright on taking two of three from the Nationals.
"He is always good. Taking a year off, it's just a setback that he had. Fortunately, he is going to come back and do what he does. We saw it in Spring Training. He did very well in Spring Training. He came back today. He did what he had to do. He shut us down." -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harperon Harvey.
WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: The excitement of Harvey Day behind them, the Mets will travel south for their first crack at the undefeated Braves in Atlanta. Left-handers Jon Niese and Eric Stults will square off in the Braves' home opener on Friday at Turner Field.
Nationals: After losing two out of three games to the Mets to start the 2015 season, the Nationals will face the Phillies in a three-game series starting on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. In the opener, right-hander Jerome Williams will take the mound for Philadelphia, while left-hander Gio Gonzalezwill start for Washington.

Reds walk off to sweep opening series vs. Bucs

At the dawn of Opening Day, not many would have predicted that the Reds would open the season with a sweep, nor that the Pirates would start out winless. Well, that's exactly what happened as Cincinnati completed a three-game series sweep on Thursday with 3-2 victory on an error by right fielder Gregory Polanco for a walk-off ending.
It was a 2-2 game when Todd Frazier led off the bottom of the ninth with a double scorched to the wall in left field against reliever Rob Scahill. A groundout to shortstop by Devin Mesoraco advanced Frazier to third base before Jay Bruce was intentionally walked. That set up Marlon Byrd, who hit a liner to right field off of Polanco's glove that scored Frazier without a throw to the plate.
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth inning with two strikeouts to get the victory.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Votto goes deep:
 On the heels of hitting a walk-off RBI single in the 11th inning on Wednesday, Joey Votto came through again on Thursday. In the bottom of the sixth after Pittsburgh took its two-run lead, Votto hit A.J. Burnett's 1-2 pitch for a game-tying two-run homer to center field. It was Votto's first home run since May 10, 2014, vs. the Rockies' Jordan Lyles. It also was also Votto's first extra-base hit in eight career hits against Burnett.
The rain can only delay Burnett: Not wanting to become a hanger-on may be one reason. Burnett decided this would be his final season. Hanging around is another matter. The veteran remained in the game on the other side of a one hour and 14 minute rain delay, blanking the Reds for two more innings before Votto broke his spell and ended his day. Burnett allowed four hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings, with a walk and seven strikeouts.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• All three games in the series featured a rain delay. Add the delay times together, and it's four hours, 23 minutes.
• Pedro Alvarez's sixth-inning home run was No. 2,500 at Great American Ball Park; the Bucs have hit 134 of those, breaking a tie with the Cubs for the most by a visiting team.
WHAT'S NEXT
Pirates: The Bucs move on to Milwaukee to continue their season-opening trip with a weekend series against the Brewers. Jeff Locke, who won his only 2014 decision in Miller Park, gets the opening assignment Friday at 8:10 p.m. ET/7:10 CT.
Reds: The Reds remain at home for another three-game series, this time vs. the defending division-champion Cardinals. Jason Marquis, a former Cardinal, will make his Reds debut when he pitches the opener at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday.

New Polls are up

video

Ultimate MLB Show April 9, 2015

video

Sabathia takes on Jays in return to the hill

CC Sabathia will make his long-awaited return to a big league mound when the Yankees host the Blue Jays on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
It will mark Sabathia's first appearance since May 10, 2014, against the Brewers. Sabathia was placed on the disabled list the next day and missed the remainder of the season because of degenerative changes in his right knee.
"It really does feel like it's been a long time since I've been around the team and watched a game, a full game, the other day," Sabathia said. "So it's been a lot of fun and hopefully [Thursday] we can get it going."
Three things to know about this game:
• Sabathia has defeated the Blue Jays at least once in each of the past 11 seasons (2004-14), which is the longest streak of its kind against Toronto. He is 15-4 with a 3.13 ERA all time vs. the Blue Jays, which includes a 2.82 ERA since joining the Yankees in 2009. It's his lowest ERA against any team in the American League East.
• Rookie Daniel Norris was picked to start this game at least partially because of New York's predominantly left-handed-hitting lineup. Norris made his starting debut near the end of the 2014 regular season, and prior to that had made four appearances out of the bullpen. He's ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect.
• With a lefty on the mound for Toronto, New York is expected to sit shortstop Didi Gregorius and outfielder Carlos Beltran, or possibly Brett Gardner. That will allow infielder Gregorio Petit and outfielder Chris Young to make their first starts of the year. For the Blue Jays, first baseman Justin Smoak likely will sit in favor of Danny Valencia.

Masterson eyes series win in return to Red Sox

In the finale of this three-game series, Justin Masterson pitches his first game for the Red Sox since 2009. Meanwhile, Phillies righty David Buchanan will pitch against Boston for the first time in his career.
This will be the last meeting between the Red Sox and Phillies until Sept. 4-6, when the clubs meet for a three-game set at Fenway Park.
Things to know about this game:
• Masterson was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians for Victor Martinez on July 31, 2009. After leaving Boston, Masterson established himself as a solid starting pitcher. But he pitched through a barrage of injuries in 2014, leading to the worst season of his career. Masterson feels fully healthy now and is eager for a bounce-back season. He signed a one-year contract to return to Boston.
• Buchanan went 6-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 20 starts last season as a rookie. Buchanan entered camp as the presumed No. 5 starter, but he became the Phillies' No. 3 following Cliff Lee's left elbow injury and a strong spring (1.29 ERA in 21 innings).


• Jeff Francoeur is a .310 hitter lifetime against Masterson, clubbing two doubles and driving in three. Allen Craig and Pablo Sandoval are the only Boston hitters who have faced Buchanan, and they are both 0-for-3.

Formidable Kennedy facing Giants in SD home opener

During years past, particularly recent seasons, Giants fans turned out at Petco Park in such large numbers that San Francisco, not San Diego, seemed to have home-field advantage when the teams met.
That could change now that the Padres have revamped their roster and, in the process, revived fan interest. Moreover, they'll have Ian Kennedy pitching for them in Thursday's 3:40 p.m. PT home opener against the Giants. Kennedy has thrived against the Giants, going 9-4 in 20 starts with a dandy 2.52 ERA. A fly-ball pitcher, Kennedy has recorded a 3.30 ERA in spacious Petco Park.
Things to know about this game
• San Diego center fielder Wil Myers had a stolen base in each of the team's first two games. Myers set a personal best in steals with six last season for the Rays.
• Giants left fielder Nori Aoki owns an 11-game hitting streak, dating back to last season. His career high is 15, which he reached with Milwaukee from June 23-July 8, 2012. He's also 5-for-10 lifetime off Kennedy.
• It should come as no surprise that new Padres right fielder Matt Kemp, who had three RBIs in the first two games, has gotten off to a fast start. He's a career .318/.383/.563 hitter in the month of April. June (.300 batting average) ranks as his second-most-productive month.
• Buster Posey is a career .417 hitter (15-for-36) off Kennedy. He also has a lifetime .350/.378/.585 slash line at Petco Park.

A's Graveman looks to make a splash vs. Rangers

Two pitchers who emerged victorious in their Spring Training rotation competitions will face off when the Rangers and the Athletics close out their four-game series with an afternoon game Thursday at the O.co Coliseum.
Right-hander Nick Martinez will be on the mound for the Rangers against rookie right-hander Kendall Graveman for the Athletics, who lead the series, 2-1. This will be first Major League start for Graveman, who was one of four players acquired from the Blue Jays in the offseason trade of Josh Donaldson. An eighth-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2013, he won a job in Spring Training with a 0.36 ERA in six starts.
Martinez is trying to continue his strong finish from 2014, when he went 2-2 with a 2.29 ERA over his last six starts.
Things to watch:
• This will be the second time in four games Rangers hitters will be facing a pitcher they have never seen in a regular-season game. That was the case on Tuesday against Jesse Hahn.
• Despite having a losing record overall, the Rangers were 25-19 in day games in 2014. Their .568 winning percentage was the fourth best in the American League. The Athletics were fifth. They went 32-26 with a .552 winning percentage.
• Sam Fuld, who was 4-for-8 with two triples in the Athletics' first two games, should be back at the top of the lineup with a right-hander pitching for the Rangers. Fuld, who was not in the lineup on Wednesday against lefty Ross Detwiler, is 1-for-3 with a triple off Martinez in his career.

Former top picks Bauer, Wojciechowski to square off

Asher Wojciechowski won a job in the Astros' rotation with a spectacular showing during the spring, becoming the only rookie to make Houston's Opening Day roster. His Major League debut will conclude this season-opening three-game set with the Indians, who will hand the ball to right-hander Trevor Bauer. Both Wojciechowski (Blue Jays, 2010) and Bauer (D-backs, 2011) are former first-round Draft picks, but they were each included in blockbuster trades on their respective roads to the big leagues.
• In 21 innings this spring, the 26-year-old Wojciechowski posted a 1.29 ERA, allowing 17 hits and six runs (three earned) in six games (three starts). He struck out 16 and walked five. Hank Conger, who caught Wojciechowski during the spring, will get the start (his first with the Astros) behind the plate.
• A goal of Bauer's over the offseason was to work on his command. It showed during Spring Training, when the right-hander had 26 strikeouts and only one walk in 27 2/3 innings. Keep an eye on Bauer's sinker and splitter, which were two pitches he worked extensively on over the offseason.
• Indians All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley was a late scratch from Wednesday's lineup due to back stiffness, which was an issue that flared up a couple times during the spring. Brantley is considered day to day, but there is a chance he sits again on Thursday to rest before the trip back home.

Danks tries to overthrow Royals in Volquez's debut

The Royals will have a tough challenge Thursday afternoon going against John Danks, because when Danks faces Kansas City, he seems to be at his best.
Danks, who has the longest current tenure of any player on the White Sox, has a 7-0 mark against the Royals with a 2.43 ERA over 103 2/3 innings. He also is 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA over 10 career outings at Kauffman Stadium.
"I feel good, ready to go," Danks said. "I think I can give us just as good of a chance as anybody, and I'm looking forward to showing that."
Edinson Volquez makes his Royals debut in the series finale. Volquez's lone start against the White Sox happened to be his Major League debut on Aug. 30, 2005. He gave up five runs over 4 2/3 innings.
Things to know
• Geovany Soto is scheduled to make his first White Sox start behind the plate.
• Third baseman Mike Moustakas has 10 career homers against the White Sox -- that's his most against any team.
• Danks needs 38 strikeouts to reach 1,000 for his career.
• Outfielder Paulo Orlando could make his Major League debut, filling in for left fielder Alex Gordon, still recovering from December wrist surgery. If Orlando plays, he will become the third Brazilian to reach the Majors -- Yan Gomes (Cleveland) and Andre Rienzo (White Sox) were the others.

Greene set for debut as Tigers seek sweep of Twins

Rain is in the forecast, but if it holds off, Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson and Tigers righty Shane Greene are set to square off in the series finale on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park. It marks Greene's debut with Detroit after being acquired from the Yankees in a three-team trade in the offseason. The Twins are also still looking for their first run of 2015, as they became the first American League team to be shut out in back-to-back games to open a season since the 1977 Mariners. Minnesota did not have a runner reach third base in the first two games of this set.
Three things to know about this game
• Greene, who made 15 starts with the Yankees as a rookie last year, has never pitched against Minnesota. The only current Twins player he's faced is Torii Hunter, who went 1-for-4 against Greene last year when he was with the Tigers.
• Gibson is coming off his first full season in the rotation that saw him go through his ups and downs. Gibson posted a 4.47 ERA on the season, but he had a 1.42 ERA in his 13 wins and an 11.04 ERA in his 12 losses. So he's working to be more consistent this season, and is looking to mix in his changeup more as well.
• Gibson is familiar with the Tigers, making six starts against them last year, going 2-3 with a 6.00 ERA. Several Detroit hitters have had success against Gibson, including Miguel Cabrera (5-for-11 with a homer and a double), and Ian Kinsler (6-for-14 with a homer).

Aces Strasburg, Harvey square off in rubber game

Five hundred and ninety-three days after making his last big league appearance, Mets ace Matt Harvey will return to the mound this afternoon against the Nationals. Need more hype? Harvey will oppose right-hander Stephen Strasburg, whom he beat in a much-anticipated April 2013 duel.
Things to know about this game:

1. Harvey will be making his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2013. Though the Mets feel he was ready to pitch late last season, they held him out until April to reduce the risk of re-injury. Still, the Mets plan to be cautious with Harvey, limiting him to around 90 pitches today and roughly 180 innings during the regular season.
2. Expect plenty of swings and misses in this one, and not just because it's getaway day. Only four pitchers (Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish) have struck out more batters than Strasburg over the past three seasons, while only four teams (the Astros, Braves, Cubs and Pirates) have whiffed more often than the Mets over that span.
3. Among those still looking for their first hits of the season are Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson and Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond. Desmond may have the best chance to break through today; he's 3-for-9 lifetime off Harvey with a home run.

Veteran Burnett meets young DeSclafani in Cincy

The finale of the season-opening series between the Pirates and the Reds features a high-contrast pitchers duel between right-handers. While the Reds will be getting their 16th look at A.J. Burnett -- not a very extensive history, actually, with a 16-year veteran -- the Bucs will get their introduction to Anthony DeSclafani, who will be making his sixth career start.
Things to know about this game:
• Catcher Tony Sanchez is likely to get the start in place of Francisco Cervelli in the matinee following Wednesday's late-night game, but he probably would have been paired with Burnett regardless of the timing. The two formed a frequent Spring Training battery and developed a good vibe.
• Reds first baseman Joey Votto is a .350 lifetime hitter against Burnett. However, all seven of his hits off the veteran have been singles.
• The "downshift" trend for Pedro Alvarez should continue. Usually one of those left-handed hitters against whom teams load up the right side of the infield, Alvarez got so many spring hits to the opposite field to apparently convince the Reds' defense to play him essentially straight up Wednesday night -- when he on cue ripped an RBI double to left-center.

Gonzalez homers thrice off Cashner as Dodgers take series

Adrian Gonzalez went 4-for-4 with his first career three-homer game, giving him five home runs in the series, to power the Dodgers to a 7-4 win over the Padres Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Justin Upton followed a first-inning single by former Dodger Matt Kemp with a towering home run off Brandon McCarthy, but Gonzalez answered in the bottom of the inning with his first homer. The Dodgers took the lead with a three-run third inning off Andrew Cashner that included a bases-loaded walk to McCarthy and a Yonder Alonso error.
Will Middlebrooks also homered for San Diego off McCarthy, who struck out nine in five-plus innings of his Dodgers debut.
Gonzalez is the first player in MLB history to hit five home runs through his team's first three games of a season, according to Elias Sports. All three of Gonzalez's home runs came off Cashner. He also singled in a run off Frank Garces for a fourth RBI, going 10-for-13 in the series with seven RBIs. Kemp went 5-for-13 in the three games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Another fast start: Scoring runs -- period -- was a big problem for the Padres in 2014, as they ranked last in the game (535 runs). Not so much this season, as the Padres scored four first-inning runs in the series -- one each on Monday and Tuesday and then two on Wednesday on Upton's home run.
Historic hitting: Gonzalez also joined Carl Furillo (1955) and Jimmy Wynn (1974) as the only Dodgers since 1914 to homer in the first three games of a season and is the only Dodger since at least 1914 to have three hits in each of the first three games of the season. The last National Leaguer to do it was Orlando Cepeda in 1963. More >
A forgettable second: The Padres would love a do-over on the second inning, as the Dodgers scored three runs on two hits and two walks with a fielding error and another bad throw with an overturned replay in the mix from the Padres fueling the inning. To make matters worse, Cashner walked McCarthy with the bases loaded to bring in a run. More >
Mixed outing for McCarthy: Although he struck out nine, McCarthy allowed two home runs and didn't retire any of the three batters he faced in the sixth inning, leaving the bullpen four innings of work to protect a two-run lead.
More >
QUOTABLE
"He's a hitter. He's a really polished, professional hitter who has power [and] the ability to hit for average, to use the whole field. He's got power, he drives in runs. He does it all."
-- Padres manager Bud Black before Gonzalez hit three home runs Wednesday.
"It's more like riding the wave and not hitting the home run. See the ball good, get a good pitch and hit the ball hard."
-- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on being in the home-run zone like Gonzalez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
While it's true the Padres' offense -- the worst in baseball a year ago -- will score more runs this season, they will also strike out more, given the additions they've made. Before Wednesday, the Padres had struck out 19 times in the first two games. That's before McCarthy struck out nine hitters in his five innings.
REPLAY REVIEW
The Dodgers won an umpire's review during a three-run second inning.
With one out and the bases loaded, Jimmy Rollins' grounder was fumbled by San Diego first baseman Alonso, who looked home before throwing to Cashner covering first base.
Umpire Hal Gibson called Rollins out for the second out of the inning. But Mattingly's challenge was upheld, putting Rollins on first base to load the bases with one out. .
WHAT'S NEXT
Padres: The Padres play their home opener at 3:40 p.m. PT on Thursday at Petco Park against the Giants. The team's No. 4 starter, Ian Kennedy, gets the ball. He's had a lot of success against the Giants, going 9-4 with a 2.52 ERA in 20 starts against San Francisco since 2010, his first year in the National League with the D-backs.
Dodgers: Brett Anderson, whose velocity was down in his last Spring Training start against the Angels, makes his regular-season Dodgers debut against the D-backs on Friday at 6:40 p.m. PT at Chase Field, renewing the heated rivalry that saw four D-backs ejected in one game between the teams this spring.