Jimmy Rollins hit a tie-breaking three-run home run in the eighth inning in his debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 6-3 opening day victory over the San Diego Padres Monday at a sold-out Dodger Stadium.
Rollins was down 0-2 in the count. Reliever Shawn Kelley then threw three consecutive sliders for balls. Rollins fouled off the next two pitches, both sliders, then hit a fastball down the right field line for his fourth opening day home run and second in two seasons.
“I came out early, a little bit over-aggressive,” said Rollins, who was acquired in a three-player trade with the Philadelphia in December after spending the first 15 seasons of his major league career with the Phillies.
“After the second swing, it actually calmed me down. He started bouncing a couple of balls and got me back into the count. He threw a pitch right in the spot I was looking, got the good part of the bat to it and got us three runs.”
Rollins was among four players obtained in off-season trades to contribute to Dodgers’ fifth consecutive opening day victory.
Howie Kendrick, obtained from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in December, doubled in Adrian Gonzalez with the tying run with a two-out double in the seventh and tripled and scored in the fourth.
Joel Peralta, acquired in a four-player trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in November, pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory.
Chris Hatcher, who the Dodgers received in a seven-player trade with the Miami Marlins in December, pitched a hitless ninth for his first major league save, striking out Alexi Amarista for the final out.
Matt Kemp drove in all three San Diego runs in his first game since being traded by the Dodgers. After drawing a standing ovation, Kemp singled in Wil Myers, who was hit by Clayton Kershaw’s 0-2 pitch, in the first. Kemp doubled in two runs in the fifth.
The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Gonzalez led off with a homer. Kendrick followed with a triple and scored on Carl Crawford’s double.
Kershaw, the Dodgers starter who was the 2014 National League MVP and Cy Young Award winner, was lifted for a pinch hitter after six innings. He allowed three runs, all earned, and six hits, striking out nine and walking two.
“They gave me the lead, 2-1, and I wasn’t able to hold it,” Kershaw said after his fifth consecutive opening day no decision. “A little bit disappointed with that.
“I just didn’t put a lot of guys away. I got ahead on a few guys and wasn’t able to finish it off. (Clint) Barmes’ hitting that 0-2 hit, that’s something that can’t happen like that. They got some hits with runners in scoring position which you really need to try to limit. We got out of it with a win, so it is OK.”
Barmes doubled leading off the fifth and scored two outs later on Kemp’s double.
Three of Kershaw’s fellow Dodger Cy Young Award winners, Eric Gagne, Don Newcombe and Fernando Valenzuela, threw the ceremonial first pitch.
The rhythm and blues singer Tinashe, who attended Crescenta Valley High School and had a recurring role on the CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men,” sang the national anthem.
Representatives of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force presented the colors. Members of the U.S. armed forces unfurled a giant flag in center field, a display in the shape of the United States. A flyover was conducted by two Boeing Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets.
Efforts were made to prevent tailgating and unruly behavior before the game.
Los Angeles Police Department officers patrolled the area to enforce the no tolerance policy for drinking in public or in parks. The LAPD and Dodger organization is also reminding the public that tailgating is prohibited in the Dodger Stadium parking lots.
Parking was prohibited on Avenue of the Palms (Stadium Way) between Scott Road and Academy Road from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and limited to two hours on several other streets.
Portable toilets, hand washing stations and additional garbage bins, funded by the Office of Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, were placed “in the area in an effort to maintain quality of life in the neighborhood on opening day,” O’Farrell said.
“Last year, I heard loud and clear that tailgaters had occupied the neighborhood as early as 7 a.m. and that any and all spaces were taken until the end of the game,” said O’Farrell, whose district includes a portion of the neighborhood surrounding Dodger Stadium, but not the stadium itself or the area closest to it. That area is represented by Councilman Gilbert Cedillo.
“While I can appreciate that the City of Angels is a baseball town and that there is a decades-long tradition of celebrating this annual springtime event, I want to make sure my constituents do not suffer the consequences of a few unruly fans.”
—City News Service
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