Lots of moments of trepidation out there today, particularly after former Dodger Matt Kemp (who was greeted with a nice ovation from the Los Angeles crowd) doubled home a run in the first inning; new Dodger Jimmy Rollins hit a leadoff single and then advanced no further; and the Dodgers looked absolutely listless in their support of Clayton Kershaw (6.0 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 Ks, 4.50 ERA).
Then came the fourth inning, when Adrian Gonzalez homered; Howie Kendrick tripled; and Carl Crawford doubled to make it 2-1 Dodgers. The Dodgers crowd came alive and things looked promising...until Kemp again struck a double to score two in the top of the fifth (3-2, SD). Kemp ended up 2-for-4 with 3 RBI and man it is just bizarre seeing him clad in non-Dodger Blue.
And then it was weird: everything went to the Guggenheim group's off-season narrative. In the top of the sixth, rookie Joc Pederson (1-for-3 with a walk and a K) made a great grab in center field which reminded us what outfield defense is supposed to look like. And right after that, Kemp misplayed a Kendrick double which scored A-Gon and tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the seventh.
The bottom of the eighth was the dagger. Pederson walked, and though A.J. Ellis weakly popped out his sac bunt attempt, PH Andre Ethier reached on a missed catch error by Padres pitcher Shawn Kelley. Rollins then came up and worked a 0-2 count back to full before homering to right on the eighth pitch of the AB. 6-3 Dodgers; Rollins ends up 2-for-4 with 3 RBI, 1 BB and 1 K. Chris Hatcher closed out the ninth (with a leadoff HBP, saved by a UJTD GIDP), and the Dodgers take the Opening Day victory. Happy times, all (except for Juan Uribe, 0-for-4, and Yasiel Puig / Ellis, both 0-for-3)!
photo collage taken by SoSG Alex Cora