The Los Angeles Dodgers look to continue their winning ways as one of the hottest team in Major League Baseball, as ace Clayton Kershaw looks for his first win against the Houston Astros starter Kyle Weiland.
Kershaw started out solid as usual, allowing no runs as he continued to focus on the mission at hand, a victory. However Weiland had his work cut out for him, starting with giving up a solo home run to an offensively awaken James Loney.
Weiland continued to hold his own against Kershaw, even striking out Kershaw at an at bat. Weiland on misguided bunt play, allowed Dee Gordon to get on to first base in the top of the sixth inning. Then Gordon took off for second, but thanks to bad guided throw that resulted in an error, allowed the speedy Gordon to make it to third base. Can we say deja vu all over again, as slugger Matt Kemp bashes another two run home run as he did yesterday.
Kershaw continued to dominate, the same could not be said for Weiland as he was replaced in the eight inning by Rhiner Cruz. Cruz immediately walks AJ Ellis, Kershaw bunted into a double play that got Ellis out at second base. After walking Adam Kennedy, Cruz was relieved by David Carpenter who loaded the bases with a Matt Kemp walk. And of course Andre Either cashes in on single to right, allowing Gordon and Kennedy to score 5-0.
The Dodgers bullpen has had trouble throughout the young season, showed it struggles, as Mike MacDougal relieved Kershaw, only to give up a center field single to Justin Maxwell. After that walking both Jordan Schafer and Jose Altuve, which made Dodger manager to make a quick personnel change bring in Kensley Jensen to finish out the inning. By then the damage had been done after walking J Martinez, Maxwell scored to avoid the shutout. Jensen was able to get out of the inning with out any further runs to set up Jamey Wright to close out the ninth inning and grab the save and victory for the Dodgers 5-1. Kershaw finally gets his first victory of the season, as Kemp has homered in three consecutive games.
Kershaw spoke about his great outing “I didn’t have great fastball command tonight. I struggled with my fastball. I didn’t exactly know where it was going all the time. I was fortunate to get some outs here and there. It was a battle tonight.”
Kershaw struck out nine and allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings for his first win this season after experiencing no decisions in his first three games of this year.
Weiland pitched seven innings, struck out six with two home runs. Weiland talked about that monster home run by Matt Kemp “I did the exact opposite of what we wanted, coming out there in that situation, you can’t give him anything close to hit. I dropped my elbow a little bit there and the pitch just spun up there.”
SAN DIEGO, CA – Once you heard the golden voice of baseball make his announcement “it’s time for Dodger baseball” you knew the 2012 Season was official. The Dodgers started the season this year on the road with the their neighbors to the south, the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw never though he’d wake with a bad case of the stomach flu for Thursday debut. After pleading and convincing manager Don Mattingly not to scratch him for the start, Kershaw went out and battled like a champ, throwing three shut out inning before calling it a day due to effects of the stomach flu. Mattingly pulls him just before the fourth inning to replace him with pitcher Josh Lindblom, who ironically wasn’t sure he would make it to the Opening Day roster.
The fourth inning proved to be the breakaway opportunity the Dodgers needed as Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez threw several walks allowing the Dodgers to score two much needed runs. The Padres also picked up three errors in the inning. The scoring didn’t stop in the fifth inning as the Dodgers got into position to score again thanks to a Dee Gordon triple error as the ball bounced off the glove of Padres Cameron Maybin. Matt Kemp hit a grounder that allowed Gordon to score making it 3-0.
The Padres finally got on the board as they scored a run thanks to Jesus Guzman RBI double, ending the scoreless drought in the sixth inning.
The eight inning, it was all Matt Kemp as he hit a home run that flew to right of pitcher Brad Brach, to give the Dodgers a commanding 5-1 lead. The Padres weren’t done as Maybin blasted about a 445 foot home run off Kensley Jensen to bring the Padres back within two, down just 5-3.
Javy Guerra came in the ninth inning to secure the save as the Dodgers take the first game of the series 5-3. Lindblom who pitched two perfect innings in Kershaw’s absence, get the win. Kemp finished the day with 3 RBI’s and 1 home run. After the home run, a happy Kemp talked about what happened when he was congratulated by new owner Magic Johnson “right when I came back from hitting the home run, he stuck his head in the dugout and said, ‘Nice job, kid”.
Padres manager Bud Black talked about the absence of Clayton Kershaw “It’s nice to get him out of the game, thinking the Cy Young Award winner is out and you have six innings to go score runs”.
Friday the Padres have another opportunity to turn things around as they send Cory Luebke to the mound against Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley at 7:05PM.
*In attendance was former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt sitting next to one of the new Dodger owners Magic Johnson. An enthusiastic Johnson was seen several times cheering on his new ball club throughout the game.