Kershaw stymies Diamondbacks in Australian opener
SYDNEY (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks should have figured they were in for a tough time against the Los Angeles Dodgers after being shut out a day earlier by Team Australia in an exhibition game.
It didn’t get any easier for manager Kirk Gibson’s team on Saturday.
Some of the Arizona players walked a half-mile to Sydney Cricket Ground after a team bus got a flat tire, and then they had to face Clayton Kershaw in the Major League Baseball season opener.
Kershaw flashed his Cy Young form, Scott Van Slyke homered and the NL West champion Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 3-1 Saturday night.
"We’d like to score more runs, and I think offensively we’re a much better club than we’ve shown here," Gibson said.
The Diamondbacks had just five hits — same as the Dodgers — and didn’t do much with them.
After Kershaw struck out leadoff man A.J. Pollock on three pitches, Aaron Hill’s sharp grounder went off the glove of shortstop Hanley Ramirez for a single and Paul Goldschmidt singled between short and third to put runners at first and second with one out. They moved up a base on an infield out but were left there when Mark Trumbo grounded out.
A missed opportunity, one of many over the past two nights.
"They pitched well against us," Gibson said. "We have 161 games left, so you try and learn some things and learn what they’re trying to do against us, and hopefully we’ll do better tomorrow. Our lineup’s a solid lineup, but not good enough tonight."
As for the bus mishap, Gibson said he wasn’t aboard.
"It wasn’t a big deal — they didn’t mind walking the rest of the way," he said.
Kershaw departed in the seventh inning after throwing 102 pitches and striking out seven.
Three relievers kept the Diamondbacks scoreless with hitless work. Chris Perez, a five-time All-Star with the Indians before joining the Dodgers in the offseason, got the last out in the seventh.
Brian Wilson pitched the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen got the save. Jansen walked a batter before getting Gerardo Parra to ground out to end the game.
Wade Miley, who came out for a pinch hitter in the fifth, got the Opening Day assignment because of an elbow injury to D-backs ace Patrick Corbin. Miley gave up three runs and three hits, striking out eight with two walks.
The Diamondbacks scored in the sixth after a double by Paul Goldschmidt, who had two hits. He moved to third on Kershaw’s wild pitch and scored on Mark Trumbo’s groundout.
Arizona was blanked 5-0 in an exhibition game Friday by Team Australia and stranded 11 runners.
On Sunday, Trevor Cahill will try to get the Diamondbacks square on the year when he pitches against left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Dodgers’ rotation due to Zack Greinke’s right calf injury.
Gibson said Saturday’s opener was a great spectacle for the sport, though it was different than being at Chase Field.
"It wasn’t exactly like an Opening Day at home, but it was an electric atmosphere," he said. "Opening Days, I think we more think of our home stadiums, the whole city’s kind of got a buzz, kind of like a holiday.
"But it was a great crowd tonight. They did a great job with the field, and the rain held off. I felt it was a great event."
A series of thunderstorms but little rain around the stadium about two hours ahead of the start cut short the Dodgers’ batting practice, and tarp was rolled on to the field. That caused the start of the game to be delayed and canceled the pregame ceremonies.
Sydney Cricket Ground was refurbished two weeks ago to create the baseball diamond and an outfield with an 8-foot wall. It was 328 feet down the foul lines and 400 feet to straightaway center.
There were plenty of Dodgers and Diamondbacks uniforms in the crowd, some worn by American visitors and others by Australians who had flown across the country to watch the opener and Sunday’s second game, when another capacity crowd is expected.
They feasted on baseball-style treats such as nachos stuffed in batting helmets and Cracker Jack, which is not usually sold in Australia. If you could afford the cost and the calories, a 2-foot-long hot dog sold for $36.
NOTES: Pollock was hitless in four at-bats. … Before the game, Arizona optioned pitchers Charles Brewer and Zeke Spruill to the minors. … Top prospect Archie Bradley, the losing pitcher against Team Australia, was among the players in the traveling party declared ineligible for the weekend. Bradley is competing with several pitchers for a spot in the rotation that’s open because of Corbin’s injury. … Sydney-born Ryan Rowland-Smith, trying to secure a spot in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, was also listed as a non-roster player and won’t play before his hometown fans this weekend.