Case closed early for Dodgers in home opener

Harry How

Friday was the first loss in a home opener by the Dodgers since 2007.

LOS ANGELES -- Just about everything went wrong early for the Dodgers in their home opener on Friday afternoon, a 8-4 loss to the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Hyun-jin Ryu retired the first two batters of the game but the Giants responded with nine straight batters reaching base in a six-run first inning. The two-out rally included a pair of fly ball bloop singles and another pop fly between first and second base that Dee Gordon and Adrian Gonzalez lost in the sun for a gift double, but Ryu wasn't helping himself much either.

After inducing 20 misses for strikes in 72 swings in his first two starts, Ryu missed just five bats on Friday in the 30 swings against him, and 13 foul balls. His curveball, used with effectiveness in San Diego on Sunday, was a non-factor against the Giants. Ryu threw four curves on Friday; two were called balls, one was fouled off and another was a called strike.

The Giants tacked on three more runs in the second innining, again all scored with two outs and Ryu's day was mercifully done after 69 pitches and only two innings.

Matt Kemp had the ignominy of getting activated but not starting, but was then added to the starting lineup thanks to the tardiness of Yasiel Puig. But Kemp misplayed the first ball hit to him for an error, allowing Mike Morse to advance one base, then couldn't haul in a double by Brandon Hicks in the second inning, which brought a short chant of "We want Puig" from the outfield pavilions.

Down 8-0 in the middle of the second, things looked bleak for the Dodgers.

The offense showed signs of life in the middle innings, with home runs by Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier in the fourth, and an RBI double by Kemp in the fifth, his first hit of the season in his third plate appearance.

The Dodgers cut the Giants' lead in half but also left runners that were in scoring position with less than two outs in every inning from the third through the sixth, making the comeback effort that much more difficult.

Giants starter was staked to an eight-run lead but didn't last long enough to get the win. The Dodgers chased Vogelsong in the fifth but where unable to score after that.

David Huff picked up the victory in relief, recording five outs in the fifth and sixth innings.

San Francisco was held at bay after the second inning by phenomenal relief work from Jose Dominguez, Brandon League and Chris Withrow. The trio pitched two innings each and combined with Jamey Wright in the ninth inning for 10 strikeouts and one baserunner allowed in seven innings.

Notes

  • The home runs by Gonzalez and Ethier in the fourth inning were the Dodgers' first back-to-back home runs this season.
  • Ethier has hit at least one home run in four of his eight home openers, hitting .355 (11-for-31) with five home runs in those games.
  • Dee Gordon stole two bases on Friday, his 12th career game with more than one steal, giving him three on the season.
  • The Dodgers were successful on their first eight stolen base attempts of the season, including three on Friday, and nearly made it 9-for-9, but Hanley Ramirez was called out by umpires challenge in the seventh inning, when replays showed he was tagged before reaching second base on his stolen base attempt.
  • Chone Figgins grounded out in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter, his first official at-bat of the season after walking in his first two plate appearances.
  • Clippers point guard Chris Paul was booed loudly again by the Laker-friendly crowd when interviewed on the video board between innings in the middle of the game. Then again, when asked to name as many members of the 1992 Dream Team as he could, Paul's first name uttered was Christian Laettner.

Friday particulars

Home runs: Adrian Gonzalez (1), Andre Ethier (1)

WP - David Huff (1-0): 1⅔ IP, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts

LP - Hyun-jin Ryu (1-1): 2 IP, 8 hits, 8 runs (6 earned), 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

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