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Padres rally past L.A. to open season in U.S.

SAN DIEGO — Seth Smith hit a tying homer leading off the eighth inning and Chris Denorfia singled home two runs to give the Padres a 3-1 comeback victory over the Dodgers on Sunday night in baseball's North American opener.

Smith's first hit with San Diego came on a 2-and-0 pitch from Brian Wilson, who started the eighth after Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven scoreless innings. Smith's seventh career pinch-hit homer sailed an estimated 360 feet into the rightfield seats.

Wilson walked pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal, who advanced when the veteran reliever couldn't handle Everth Cabrera's bunt for an error. Grandal stole third and Cabrera took second on indifference before Denorfia hit a bouncer up the middle to bring them both in.

Former Ray Dale Thayer pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Huston Street finished for the save.

The defending NL West champion Dodgers had started the regular season with a two-game sweep of the Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia.

Ryu got the start after reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was scratched because of a swollen back muscle, then placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career.

In a scheduling quirk, the left-hander started consecutive regular-season games. He made his season debut a week earlier, when Los Angeles beat Arizona in the second game in Australia.

Ryu retired 16 in a row from the second inning until one out in the seventh. He then walked rookie Tommy Medica, who was erased in a 3-6-3 double play.

Ryu allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked three.

The Dodgers grabbed the lead on a nice piece of hitting by former Ray Carl Crawford with two out in the fifth. He went the other way on Andrew Cashner's 0-and-2 pitch, hitting it over third baseman Chase Headley to score Dee Gordon from second.

RECORD PAYROLL: The Dodgers set a record with an opening-day payroll of $234 million, according to a study of big-league contracts by the Associated Press. The Yankees were a distant second at $199 million, ending their streak of six openers above $200 million. The Yankees had topped the opening-day salary list for 15 straight years and had set the mark of $230 million last season.

BLUE JAYS: Right-handed closer Casey Janssen went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday with a left abdominal strain.

RED SOX: Rightfielder Shane Victorino was sent back to Boston to have his right hamstring examined, leaving his status for today's opener in doubt. Victorino strained his hamstring while running the bases in Saturday's exhibition finale.

ROYALS: Infielder Omar Infante was declared ready for the season despite feeling a pinch in his right elbow when he swings and throws.

Padres rally past L.A. to open season in U.S. 03/30/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 30, 2014 11:26pm]
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