Saturday, June 23, 2018
Sports

Dodgers triumph in Aussie opener

SYDNEY — Opening day turned out to be a pretty g'day for the Dodgers and ace Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw flashed his Cy Young-winning form, Scott Van Slyke homered and the NL West champions opened the baseball season with a 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks on Saturday at Sydney Cricket Ground.

A crowd of about 40,000 watched as MLB played its first regular-season game in Australia.

Kershaw allowed one run and five hits in 6⅔ innings. Van Slyke hit a two-run homer and also doubled.

The first pitch was delayed because of rain for 14 minutes. By then, the long trip Down Under had taken even longer for some Arizona players.

A team bus had a flat tire, and the Diamondbacks said "a handful" of players decided to walk the last half-mile to the stadium instead of waiting for a replacement bus.

Kershaw was impressive while making his fourth consecutive opening day start. He struck out seven, walked one and was pulled by manager Don Mattingly after throwing his 102nd pitch.

Quite a turnaround from spring training, when the two-time NL Cy Young winner went 0-3 with a 9.20 ERA in four starts.

"Sometimes you just need the adrenaline of a regular-season game, and I just kind of feel relieved to get this one under my belt," he said.

"It's always good to get results, obviously. This one counted."

In his previous starts on opening day starts, Kershaw was 2-0 with 19 strikeouts in 19 scoreless innings.

"Kershaw did a good job keeping us in the middle of the diamond," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He threw a good ballgame against us. We know they're always going to be close."

Three relievers kept the Diamondbacks hitless. 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.

"Clayton was really good, kind of as always … kind of doing his thing," Mattingly said. "He's a tough guy to take out of the game, he always wants to stay in. And I thought our bullpen was really good tonight. Chris comes in and gets a big out for us there and Wilson did a good job and Jansen in closing the door."

BRAVES: Right-hander Julio Teheran, who was 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA last year as a rookie, will get the opening day start.

BREWERS: The club exercised its 2015 option on manager Ron Roenicke's contract. Roenicke is 253-233 heading into his fourth year with Milwaukee.

CUBS: Top prospect Javier Baez was reassigned to minor-league camp despite a sensational spring. Baez batted .310 with five homers in 42 at-bats.

INDIANS: Outfielder Jeff Francoeur was released.

ORIOLES: Two days after having his left knee examined, third baseman Manny Machado still doesn't know if he'll be ready for opening day. Machado has yet to run even though he has been cleared for full activities.

RANGERS: Right-hander Tanner Scheppers will open the seaosn in the starting rotation, with right-hander Alexi Ogando moving into a setup role. Right-hander Joakim Soria was named the closer.

REDS: Utility player Skip Schumaker dislocated his left shoulder and will miss about a month.

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