clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kiké Hernandez, Mookie Betts have Dodgers in 7th heaven in Opening Day win

New, 73 comments

7th-inning rally breaks open a close one with Giants

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Mookie Betts made a difference in his very first game with the Dodgers, and did so with his speed and baserunning acumen. It was Kiké Hernandez who brought the lumber, driving in five runs with a four-hit night to beat the Giants, 8-1 on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.

This game was unfolding like scads of Dodgers-Giants games before it, tied late. Until the bottom of the seventh, when 11 batters saw 37 pitches against two relief pitchers, scoring five runs. The winning rally started with a one-out single from Betts, his first hit with his new team.

Betts went to third on a double to left by Cody Bellinger, then with the infield in Betts dashed home on a grounder to second base by Justin Turner, beating the tag from catcher Tyler Heineman for the go-ahead run.

The play was reviewed, but Betts’ slide was unimpeded by Heineman’s foot, and upheld as safe.

Betts actually reached earlier in the game, on an error by third baseman Wilmer Flores in the fifth, but it’s understandable if you missed it since ESPN was running a split-screen interview with A’s third baseman Matt Chapman during that half inning.

Back in the seventh inning, Betts’ run seemed huge at the time, with runs at a premium for the first six frames. But it really just opened the flood gates.

Hernandez delivered two insurance runs with a two-out single off submariner Tyler Rogers, one three run-scoring hits on the night for Hernandez. He was 4-for-5 in all, joining Raul Mondesi in 1999 as the only Dodgers to collect four hits and drive in five runs on opening day.

Dany Jimenez entered in relief for the Giants, but the Dodgers greeted him with two walks to load the bases, a fielder’s choice against the shift for one run, and another walk for the fifth run of the inning.

Adam Kolarek was the beneficiary of that rally, but he earned his win in relief. He retired the final two batters of the seventh inning on two pitches, then with a lead in the eighth he struck out two in another scoreless frame.

Four Dodgers relievers — Caleb Ferguson, Pedro Baez, Kolarek, and Brusdar Graterol — retired 12 of 13 batters they faced to close this one out.

Big red

Dustin May was pressed into duty on short notice, scratched from a planned simulated game Wednesday in case he was needed to fill in for Clayton Kershaw, who was scratched from his start Thursday with back stiffness and placed on the injured list.

“This was kind of sprung on him a little last minute, which might actually benefit him,” Turner said of May before the game. “You know, he’s not spending two, three days leading up to this with all the anxiety and whatnot of being the opening day starter.”

May’s stuff was electric in his fifth major league start, hitting 100 mph with his two-seam fastball and averaging 95.8 mph on the 40 times he threw it on Thursday, two-thirds of his pitches, per Baseball Savant. He allowed seven hits, all singles, three of them of the infield variety.

The only run against May came in the fourth, when three of those singles came in a row, followed by a sacrifice fly. May left with one out in the fifth inning after 60 pitches, with runners on the corners.

Caleb Ferguson was the first Dodgers reliever used this season, and promptly induced Pablo Sandoval to ground back to the box. Ferguson whirled and threw to second for one out, then second baseman Hernandez caught catcher Tyler Heineman off third base, running at him and eventually throwing to third to finish the unconventional 1-4-5 double play to end the threat.

Kerplunk

Turner led off the second inning getting hit by a pitch from Johnny Cueto, reaching a painful milestone. It was Turner’s 73rd hit by pitch since joining the Dodgers in 2014, tied for the most in franchise history with Zack Wheat. Thursday was Turner’s 755th career game with the Dodgers. Wheat played in 2,322 games with Brooklyn.

Game particulars

Home run: Kiké Hernandez (1)

WP — Adam Kolarek (1-0): 1⅔ IP, 2 strikeouts

LP — Tyler Rogers (0-1): ⅔ IP, 3 hits, 4 runs

Up next

These two teams are back at it on Friday night, a 6:40 p.m. PT start that will mark SportsNet LA’s first broadcast of the regular season. With Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser in the booth, Ross Stripling will start on the mound.