Sloppy start costs Dodgers in home opener loss to Giants
LOS ANGELES —The Dodgers bullpen retired 20 of the 21 batters faced in seven innings of no-hit ball on Friday.
The bullpen, however, didn’t start the game and it was the first two innings that decided the Dodgers’ fate in their home opener against the Giants.
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu barely got out of the first inning. He retired the first two Giants he faced then walked the third. And then an avalanche ensued. Six runs on six hits were surrendered in the first inning and that was all she wrote, putting a damper on Opening Day festivities at Chavez Ravine in the Giants’ 8-4 win.
All nine of the players in the Giants lineup reached base safely as Ryu had to face 12 batters in the inning. The art of the two-out rally was on full display by the Giants.
It all started with a two-out walk.
"I just think that the first walk in the first inning was very critical," Ryu said through an interpreter. "I think it changed the entire face of the game."
The defense behind Ryu wasn’t much help, either.
Michael Morse singled to center where Matt Kemp, just activated off of the DL, was a late insertion into the starting lineup after Yasiel Puig was late to the stadium. Kemp misplayed the ball in center while Morse advanced to second on the error. Two runs scored and the Giants led 2-0.
It was the first of two errors in the first two innings for the Dodgers.
"The first two innings were sloppy," Kemp said. "Defensively, we didn’t do a good job of anything."
Later in the inning, Ryu intentionally walked Giants shortstop Joaquin Arias to get to pitcher Ryan Vogelsong. The pitcher hit a single that dropped in between three Dodgers in left center. That drove in two and all of a sudden the Dodgers trailed 5-0 on Opening Day.
All eight of the runs surrendered by Ryu came with two outs.
"I don’t really feel like he got thumped," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I didn’t feel like there was rockets flying all over the field. They put it in play and it dropped.
"We didn’t help him, some balls fell and then it just turned bad."
Despite digging a huge hole to start the game, Mattingly’s team "kept playing" and in that he can take solace. Especially in the effort of the bullpen with Jose Dominguez, Brandon League, Chris Withrow and Jamey Wright combining to throw seven no-hit innings. The foursome combined for 10 strikeouts and walked just one.
Phenomenal relief from the #Dodgers bullpen — now at six innings of no-hit baseball allowing just one walk with 10 strikeouts.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 4, 2014
"Our bullpen, obviously was really good today," Mattingly said. "I thought it was a game that could’ve ended up, kind of, blowing up our bullpen, having to use a lot of guys and a lot of pitches.
"That was a little bit of a silver lining in the game for us today."