Pederson, Dodgers hit team-mark 4 HRs in opener, rout Padres
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Dodgers didn’t waste any time showing off their offensive depth on opening day, with every slot in the lineup accounting for a hit and a run.
The biggest drive came from Joc Pederson, who hit a grand slam as part of a franchise-record four home runs to start the season, leading Clayton Kershaw and Los Angeles over the San Diego Padres 14-3 Monday.
Pederson drove in five runs, Yasmani Grandal homered twice and Corey Seager added a three-run shot.
”We had Kersh going, got ahead early and didn’t take our foot off the pedal,” Pederson said. ”Everyone raked. Anyone at any time can hurt you. It’s awesome to be a part of.”
Kershaw (1-0) allowed two runs – one earned – and two hits over 84 pitches and seven innings. He struck out eight and walked none in his seventh consecutive opening day start. He tied the team mark for most opening day starts in matching Don Sutton, who started seven straight openers from 1972-78, and Don Drysdale, whose seven weren’t consecutive.
”If we keep scoring in double-digit runs, I think I’ll have a good year,” Kershaw said, smiling.
Kershaw’s fifth opening day victory equaled Drysdale for most in franchise history.
”It’s a huge honor to get to do that,” he said.
Jhoulys Chacin (0-1) gave up a career-worst nine runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings in his Padres debut.
”I didn’t make good pitches when I needed to, especially in the third inning,” he said. ”I started getting behind. (Pederson) was ready for the fastball in and hit it out. That’s where the game got away from us.”
The Dodgers’ runs fell just short of their 15-0 victory over the Padres on opening day a year ago in San Diego.
”It was the quality of the bats one through nine, Kersh included,” second-year manager Dave Roberts said. ”There was a purpose every time someone stepped in the batter’s box.”
Grandal followed Pederson’s slam in the third inning with a solo homer into the same lower right-field seats. Both came with two outs and gave the Dodgers a 6-1 lead.
Pederson’s slam was the team’s first on opening day since Eric Karros had one in 2000 at Montreal. The center fielder’s five-RBI performance, including a sacrifice fly in the second, was the first to open a Dodgers season since Raul Mondesi in 1999 against Arizona.
Seager, last season’s NL Rookie of the Year, homered with two outs in the fifth off catcher-turned-pitcher Christian Bethancourt, whose consecutive wild pitches in the fourth led to two of the three runs in the inning.
Bethancourt, who will be used out of the bullpen and behind the plate this season, got tagged for three runs, three hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings.
Kershaw, who had 46 hits last season, singled leading off the fourth and scored on Justin Turner’s double.
The Padres’ runs came on Yangervis Solarte’s RBI single in the first and Ryan Schimpf’s homer in the seventh.
Kershaw is 5-0 in seven opening-day starts with a 0.99 ERA, the second-lowest behind Rick Mahler’s 0.92 mark. Kershaw again dominated the Padres, improving to 15-6 with a 2.03 ERA while limiting hitters to a .191 average in 29 career starts.
Vin Scully wasn’t in the Dodgers booth for an opener for the first time since 1950, having retired last season at age 88. Scully’s dulcet tones still resonated in the ballpark. He narrated a video about opening day shown before the game and then turned it over to his 29-year-old successor Joe Davis, who introduced Wally Moon and Tom Lasorda for ceremonial first pitches.
On Bethancourt’s first wild pitch in the fourth, he ran to cover the plate and appeared to have been spiked by Andrew Toles’ slide. Bethancourt said he got cut inside his leg and on top of his kneecap.
”I just wanted to stay in the ballgame and just wanted to keep pitching and helping my team,” he said. ”I was actually mad after I got cut. Not mad at the runner. That’s part of the game. It happens. I’m a catcher, too. I’ve been in a lot of those (plays).”
San Diego lost its third straight opener, all to the Dodgers, and fell to 21-28 on opening day. The Padres are 1-6 in their last seven games at Dodger Stadium. The Padres, who have the second-youngest roster in the majors, haven’t won an opener since they beat the Dodgers in San Diego in 2014.
Padres: They have six players hurt to start the season, with LHP Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea on the 60-day DL.
Dodgers: RHP Pedro Baez (right wrist bruise), one of six players starting the season on the DL, is expected to return next week after rehabbing at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
LHP Clayton Richard starts for the Padres against RHP Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers on Tuesday. Richard went 3-3 with a 2.41 ERA in nine starts for San Diego last season after the Cubs let him go in August. Maeda is 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA in four career starts against the Padres.
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