Dee Gordon and Yasiel Puig consistently set the table and the Dodgers feasted all day, grinding out a 7-5 win for Hyun-jin Ryu over the Diamondbacks and a two-game opening series sweep at Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.
The Dodgers built a 7-0 lead before Arizona tacked on a single run in the eighth inning and four more in the ninth, including a two-run home run by Mark Trumbo off Kenley Jansen, one of six relievers used to record the final nine outs of the game.
Gordon and Puig each had two singles and a double in six plate appearances, and each was hit by a pitch. Gordon scored twice and drove in one with a sacrifice fly, while Puig scored once and drove in two runs. They were part of rallies for the Dodgers in seemingly every inning.
The Dodgers scored in five of the first seven innings, and left the bases loaded in a scoreless fourth. They put so many runners on base — 23 Dodgers reached base via hit, walk or hit by pitch — that even the several baserunning miscues could be easily swept under the rug.
Andre Ethier drove in the Dodgers' first run for the second straight game with a single in the first inning, but was thrown out trying to turn it into a double. Puig followed suit in the third inning with an RBI single but was erased trying to stretch it thanks to a 7-5-4-3-5-4 rundown. Puig was also thrown out in the sixth inning when he was hesitant trying to advance to third base on a wild pitch.
But there were also positives on the bases, like Adrian Gonzalez leading the major leagues in stolen bases after he swiped the first bag of the 2014 season.
Gonzalez with his two walks was one of six Dodgers to reach base at least twice. Ryu only reached base once, but singled and scored in the third inning. In his career Ryu is 6-for-12 (.500) against the Diamondbacks and 7-for-48 (.146) against everyone else.
But it was on the mound where Ryu came through on Saturday (again, Sunday afternoon in Sydney). Ryu allowed baserunners in four of his five innings and was stretched to 87 pitches in those five frames. But outside of the fourth inning, when an error on Gordon and a botched double play ball by Hanley Ramirez gave Arizona their only runner in scoring position against Ryu, the Diamondbacks never really threatened against the southpaw.
In his five innings, Ryu allowed two hits and a walk, and struck out five to earn the win. In 31 regular season starts with the Dodgers, Ryu has allowed two or fewer runs 20 times. The Dodgers are 17-3 in those games.
Dread isn't the right word but heading into the opening series the long trip brought at the very least a sense of uneasiness and inconvenience. Now, the Dodgers can take the long flight home in the best-case scenario, with two wins in their pocket before 28 other teams have even started their season.
The Dodgers' 23 runners to reach base via hit, walk or hit by pitch was surpassed only once by the team in 2013. They put 25 on base in a 13-4 win in St. Louis last Aug. 7.
The Dodgers were 1-4 in 2013 when they walked at least eight batters, as they did on Saturday/Sunday. The lone win in 2013 came on July 3 in Colorado, when they issued nine walks in a 9-7 win over the Rockies.
The Dodgers will fly home almost immediately after the game, and are expected to arrive back in Los Angeles at 3 p.m. PT on Sunday. After a few days to adjust from the jet lag, they will hold an intrasquad game at some point this week but the next game is an exhibition contest on Thursday with the start of the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium. Zack Greinke, who pitched in a minor league game at Camelback Ranch on Saturday, is expected to start the opener against the Halos.
Home run: Mark Trumbo (1)
Stolen bases: Adrian Gonzalez (1)
WP - Hyun-jin Ryu (1-0): 5 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
LP - Trevor Cahill (0-1): 4+ IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks, 1 strikeout