LOS ANGELES -- Monday gave fans at a sold out Dodger Stadium quite the cathartic experience. Old friend Matt Kemp had a banner day in his return, but new friend Jimmy Rollins proved to be the leading man, hitting a three-run home run in the eighth inning, lifting the Dodgers over the Padres 6-3.
Rollins, who started the previous 14 opening days with the Phillies, was 2-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base in his Dodgers debut, just the fifth Dodger since 1914 with a home run and a steal on opening day.
But Rollins wasn't alone.
Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick, the third and fourth hitters on opening day, were in the middle of the Dodgers' mix all day, combining for five hits, including four extra-base hits. The duo also combined to record the two outs on a 5-4-3 double play to end the eighth inning, a precarious situation for both, with Justin Upton trying to break up the play with a hard slide at second base, and with Gonzalez scooping the throw at first base to end the inning, before the Dodgers' winning rally in the bottom of the frame.
Wil Myers was hit by a pitch on a 1-2 pitch from Clayton Kershaw to lead off the game, then stole second base. Though a replay appeared to show Myers was tagged before reaching the bag, the play was not challenged by manager Don Mattingly.
Kemp, who got a prolonged standing ovation before his first plate appearance, then hit a slow ground ball through the vacated spot at second base against a shifted infield defense, a two-out single that scored Myers for a quick 1-0 San Diego lead.
The Dodgers bounced back in a big way in the fourth inning, getting a home run (by Gonzalez), a triple (by Kendrick, aided by the sun and Myers in center field) and a double (by Carl Crawford) from the first three batters to take a 2-1 lead. But they never got that single to complete the inning cycle that would have widened the lead.
The Padres took advantage in the fifth. Clint Barmes opened the inning with a double, one of four hit against Kershaw on the day, matching a career-high. Kershaw was close to getting out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts, but then Derek Norris struck.
In a bizarre play in the second inning, Norris was struck in the hand by a piece of a broken bat of Crawford on a pop out to shortstop. After getting examined by trainers and taking a few practice throws back to James Shields, Norris stayed in the game. Norris hit one of those four doubles against Kershaw, though he was left stranded in the third.
But in the fifth, with two outs Norris hit a slow ground ball to third base, arriving about the same time Barmes was near Juan Uribe, who hesitated and couldn't get the relatively speedy catcher at first base.
That extended the inning for Kemp, who hit one of the four doubles, enough to score both Barmes from third base and Norris from first, giving San Diego a 3-2 advantage.
Kemp flourished in six opening day starts with the Dodgers, and his two-hit performance on Monday only added to his season-starting prowess. Kemp is now 9-for-25 (.360) with two home runs, two doubles, 10 RBI and five walks in his seven career opening days.
Joc Pederson gave the Dodgers a chance to tie in the sixth, lacing a one-out double to right field then completely picking Shields' pocket, stealing third without a throw. But A.J. Ellis and Justin Turner - the latter batting for Kershaw - struck out to end the threat.
Shields struck out eight in his six innings, allowing a pair of runs on six hits, earning a no-decision in his Padres debut.
Kershaw was done after 99 pitches in his six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out nine. Kershaw allowed three or more runs just 10 times in his 29 starts in 2014, including the playoffs.
Back-to-back two-out doubles by Gonzalez and Kendrick in the seventh inning against Nick Vincent tied the game, an inning before Rollins untied it.
Chris Hatcher pitched the ninth inning for his first career save.
Opening day particulars
Home runs: Adrian Gonzalez (1), Jimmy Rollins (1)
WP - Joel Peralta (1-0): 1 IP, 1 hit
LP - Shawn Kelley (0-1): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Sv - Chris Hatcher (1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout