Both opening day starting pitchers brought their A game on Thursday evening, and both blew chunks as well, though at different times. Luckily for the Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw didn't have much trouble on the mound during his abbreviated start and the Dodgers captured the opener against the Padres, 5-3 at Petco Park.
Edinson Volquez, like Kershaw, retired the first eight batters of the game. The first baserunner by either team was Kershaw, who singled in the third inning with two outs. Volquez returned the favor in the next half inning, singling off Kershaw to become the first Padre to reach base.
San Diego mounted a rally, adding a single and a walk to Volquez's two-out hit, but Kershaw was able to strikeout Chase Headley to end the threat. Unfortunately for Kershaw and the Dodgers, that was the last batter he would face.
Kershaw had the stomach flu and was nearly scratched from his start, but reportedly pleaded with manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to pitch, per Vin Scully on the Dodgers television broadcast.
Josh Lindblom picked up the slack, with two scoreless innings of relief. Lindblom retired all six batters he faced, including Younder Alonso grounding out to end the fourth inning on a fantastic play by shosrtstop Dee Gordon.
Volquez struck out seven in his five innings of work, but his four walks came all bunched together in the fourth inning. The Dodgers had just two hits in the top of the fourth inning, but bases loaded free passes to James Loney and A.J. Ellis gave the Dodgers the lead.
The two teams traded two-run home runs in the eighth inning, with the blasts spawning different reactions to spring trends. Matt Kemp struck out 26 times in 70 plate appearances in spring training, and much of the last week or so has featured questions on whether or not the Dodgers are worried about the strikeouts. Not after two hits and an opposite field home run, they aren't.
Cameron Maybin crushed a pitch from Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning, a blast that was estimated at 445 feet. Jansen gave up three home runs in nine innings during the spring, after giving up three in nearly 54 innings last season.
Javy Guerra pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.
Home Runs: Matt Kemp (1); Cameron Maybin (1)
WP - Josh Lindblom (1-0): 2 IP, 1 strikeout
LP - Edinson Volquez (0-1): 5 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 4 walks, 7 strikeouts
Sv - Javy Guerra (1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout