After nearly a week of starting slow, the Dodgers rode a series of firsts to beat the Diamondbacks 7-4 on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field, avoiding a series sweep.
Dodgers opponents scored first in each of the first five games of the year, but it was the Dodgers who struck first on Sunday, with a Joc Pederson leadoff double in the third inning, followed two batters later with a sacrifice fly by Jimmy Rollins for a 1-0 lead.
The scoring continued in the fourth inning with three straight singles, the third by Alex Guerrero — making his first career major league start, at third base — for his first major league RBI.
The fifth inning saw Yasiel Puig, one day after getting Saturday night off following a 2-for-17 start, hit a rocket line drive into the left field seats for his first home run of the season, and a 3-0 lead.
Pederson followed in the sixth inning with a home run to deep center field for a 4-0 lead. Not only was it Pederson's first major league home run, but it was also his first major league RBI.
Adrian Gonzalez, who two innings earlier just missed his sixth home run but settled for a double, singled to open the seventh inning and ultimately scored on a double by Guerrero, the first career extra-base hit for Guerrero, one of three Cuban-born players to start for the Dodgers, the first time in franchise history they have done that.
The seventh inning also featured an intentional walk to Pederson, a first in his career. He finished 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, falling a triple short of the cycle.
That picket fence offense was more than enough for Zack Greinke, who pitched seven scoreless innings for the longest outing by a Dodgers starter this season. Greinke allowed only three hits, though two others reached base in a rare two-error game by Rollins. Greinke walked none and struck out seven, including four called strikeouts.
Greinke, who has allowed just one run in 13 innings so far this season, picked up his first win of the season.
Guerrero, for good measure, hit a no-doubter into the left field seats in the ninth inning for his first major league home run. Guerrero went 3-for-5 with four RBI. He, like Pederson, also fell a triple shy of the cycle.
Yasmani Grandal, who went 2-for-5 with two runs scored at the plate, also threw out Jake Lamb trying to steal second base in the fourth inning, the first caught stealing for Grandal this season in four attempts.
The Dodgers took a 7-0 lead into the ninth, when Scott Van Slyke falling down at first base on a ground ball was followed by Chris Hatcher failing to retire four of his five hitters, turning a blowout into a 7-4 game. But Joel Peralta recorded the final out to preserve the win, and earn his second save.
The Dodgers return home for a six-game homestand, starting with a three-game series against the Mariners. In the series opener on Monday night at Dodger Stadium, Brandon McCarthy gets the call for Los Angeles, while James Paxton starts for Seattle, likely the only left-handed starting pitcher the Dodgers will face in the first two weeks of the season.
Home runs: Yasiel Puig (1), Joc Pederson (1), Alex Guerrero (1)
WP - Zack Greinke (1-0): 7 IP, 5 hits, 7 strikeouts
LP - Josh Collmenter (0-2): 5 IP, 9 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Sv - Joel Peralta (2): ⅓ IP