San Diego: The San Diego Padres rallied with three runs in the eighth inning on Sunday to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 in Major League Baseball’s 2014 “Opening Night” showcase.
The Dodgers got seven shutout innings from South Korean starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin, who retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced — including one span of 16 in a row.
Ryu allowed three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts, and left the game with the Dodgers up 1-0.
However, Padres pinch-hitter Seth Smith tied the game with a long home run to right field to start the eighth inning off relief pitcher Brian Wilson.
Wilson also gave up Chris Denorfia’s two-run single later in the inning.
Padres reliever Dale Thayer had pitched a perfect top of the eighth inning.
To the delight of a sellout crowd of 45,567 at Petco Park, Padres closer Huston Street retired all three Dodgers hitters he faced in the ninth to post his first save of the season.
The Dodgers scored their lone run in the fifth inning off San Diego starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, when Carl Crawford’s crisp single allowed Dee Gordon to score from second base.
The game was the first Stateside contest in Major League Baseball’s 2014 season. But the Dodgers were actually playing their third game after sweeping a season-opening two-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.
Monday’s official “Opening Day” sees 13 games on the slate, including the reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox’s opener at the Baltimore Orioles.
The Red Sox surprised everybody in baseball with their 2013 World Series title one year removed from a 69-win season and fifth-place finish in the American League East division.
The Red Sox added some small pieces in off-season acquisitions of relief pitcher Edward Mujica, catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Grady Sizemore, the 31-year-old former All-Star who has battled a litany of injuries but was impressive enough in Spring Training to make the Opening Day roster.
The additions weren’t earth-shaking, but the Red Sox hope they can again find the chemistry for a title run.
Baltimore, trying to contend in the tough AL East, inked free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz to a one-year contract and also added starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to their rotation in a four-year deal.
Darvish on DL –
Elsewhere on Monday, the Texas Rangers host the Philadelphia Phillies in an interleague contest.
The Rangers are without Japanese ace Yu Darvish for their opening game.
Darvish will start the season on the 15-day disabled list because of stiffness in his neck.
He was originally scheduled to start against the Phillies, but was scratched from that duty last week and placed on the DL on Sunday.
However, Darvish had a 32-pitch bullpen session on Sunday — throwing for the second day in a row — and reported no problems.
He was to rest on Monday and throw again on Tuesday, and with his spell on the DL back-dated to March 21 he will be eligible to play next weekend.