Seven years ago, Jimmy Rollins homered on opening day for the Philadelphia Phillies, and they went on to win it all. Seven years later, Rollins hits a tiebreaking three run homer for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their season opener.
The Dodgers beat the revamped Padres 6-3 on Monday. ”It was very cool,” Rollins said. ”You get that first ‘W’ out of the way and get that left column rolling.”
The 5-foot-7 Rollins joined the team in the offseason to improve the defense, but it was his batting that delivered the W. Howie Kendrick, who also joined the team in the offseason, had an RBI double with two outs in the seventh inning to tie the game at 3.
The reigning NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw struck out nine, but he wasn’t at his best and the team trailed twice before Rollins and Kendrick came through. Kershaw gave up three runs and six hits in six innings of work. Joel Peralta got the victory for the Dodgers, and Chris Hatcher earned his first save.
Ex-Dodger Matt Kemp, who joined the Padres after a trade with the Los Angeles team, went 2 for 4 and drove in all three of San Diego’s runs. He received a mix of cheers and boos from the crowd in his times at bat.
”I like facing the best and he’s the best pitcher in baseball, hands-down,” Kemp said. ”You’ve got to always respect him and grind against a guy like that, and I’m going to battle no matter what.”
Kemp got the Padres on board early with an RBI single in the first that put the team up 1-0. Kemp then doubled into the left field corner with two outs in the fifth, and that drove in two more runs. His clutch hitting put the Padres back in the lead by one. ”It was great, just to come back here and get the love that I got,” Kemp said.
The new pitcher for the Padres, James Shields, was a little shaky at times and allowed three straight hits in the fourth. He also allowed a home run to Adrian Gonzalez.
Shields final stat line was two allowed runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out eight and walked two.
Ovation For Kemp
Clayton Kershaw gave Matt Kemp a few extra seconds in the box to hear the applause coming from his old fans in his first at bat.
”I’ve got a lot of respect for him and I feel like he has a lot of respect for me,” Kemp said. ”I think he saw the crowd’s reaction and kind of stepped back and let it play out. Then we went at it.”
This was Shields second career start against the Dodgers and he left the game with the lead, but the team could not hang on. He was in a familiar place because he grew up nearby and attended many games at that stadium.
– Padres placed two of their pitchers in the 15 day disabled list, Cory Luebke and Josh Johnson.
– Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to play catch soon.
Tyson Ross will face Zack Greinke in the second game of the series. The Dodgers ace is coming off a career high 17 win season.