Scott Van Slyke provided the offense and Clayton Kershaw was Clayton Kershaw to give the Dodgers a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Opening Day at Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.
The Dodgers have won four straight Opening Days for the first time since 1963-66.
Van Slyke hit what several people thought was a home run in the second inning, a shot to left field. As Van Slyke was congratulated by first base coach Davey Lopes, left fielder Mark Trumbo was climbing the wall trying to catch the would-be homer, only to watch the ball hit the fence a few feet away (GIF courtesy of Chad Moriyama):
After the confusion settled the Dodgers didn't have a 2-0 lead but rather runners on second and third base with nobody out in a scoreless tie. Andre Ethier cashed in one with a ground ball to the right side for the season's first run.
Two innings later, again with Adrian Gonzalez on first base, Van Slyke this time tried his luck down the right field line, but this time his line drive found its way over the fence in fair territory:
The two-run shot gave the Dodgers 3-0 lead, and made Van Slyke the first Dodger with two extra-base hits on Opening Day since Juan Encarnacion hit two doubles in 2004's opener.
Kershaw allowed a pair of singles in the first inning, a frame that saw Arizona put runners on second and third base with two outs, but held the Diamondbacks scoreless through the first five innings. A leadoff double by the great Paul Goldschmidt plus a wild pitch gave Arizona a golden opportunity in the sixth inning, cashed in on a groundout by Trumbo.
The run was the first allowed by Kershaw on Opening Day, in his 25th career inning.
After hitting for himself and singling in the top of the seventh inning - and getting thrown out trying to stretch it into a double - Kershaw pitched the bottom of the inning as well and would have completed it if not for a fielding error by Justin Turner. Kershaw settled for 6⅔ innings and seven strikeouts, with just the one run allowed.
Because of the run allowed, Kershaw is stuck on three scoreless Opening Day starts, tied for the third most since 1914, with such pitching luminaries as Tom Seaver, Greg Maddux and Bob Feller. The only pitchers with more scoreless starts on Opening Day: Walter Johnson (six) and Rick Mahler (four).
Maybe next year, Kershaw can catch Mahler.
Nice debut, kid
Alex Guerrero was called on to pinch hit for Brian Wilson in the top of the ninth inning, set to make his major league debut at the plate. But when D-backs manager Kirk Gibson removed southpaw Oliver Perez in favor of the right-handed J.J. Putz, Don Mattingly countered by pinch hitting for Guerrero with the left-handed Mike Baxter.
Guerrero technically gets a game played, but is still awaiting that first plate appearance.
The two teams are at it again later tonight (Sunday afternoon in Sydney), with Hyun-jin Ryu getting the start for the Dodgers against Trevor Cahill for Arizona.
Home run: Scott Van Slyke (1)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (1-0): 6⅔ IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP - Wade Miley (0-1): 5 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (1): 1 IP, 1 walk, 1 strikeout