It was cloudy with a chance of errors on the Dodgers “Opening Night” game against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.
Los Angeles made three errors including a misplayed fly ball and the Padres capitalized off those mistakes to beat the Dodgers 7-3 in front of 40,356 rain-soaked fans.
“Errors are going to happen. Those were plays we had chances to make,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. “It was actually a good game until the last couple innings there. It was a little sloppy, but it will be alright.”
The game was delayed for nearly 40 minutes as a rainstorm passed over Chavez Ravine earlier in the evening.
Padres’ catcher Derek Norris continued the downpour after things finally got underway. Norris had his second multi-hit game for the second consecutive day, going two for five on the night with a double and two RBIs.
Carl Crawford misplayed a Justin Upton's fly ball in the first inning that scored Matt Kemp from first. Upton ended up on third on the play and the Padres led 1-0.
For the first six innings the game was a pitching duel between two reigning All-Stars in Zack Grienke and Tyson Ross. The righties were dealing all night as they matched each other pitch-for-pitch for most of the game. After the first inning blunder by Crawford, Greinke did not allow a hit the rest of the way.
“I had good command. I didn’t throw many curves, but my other three pitches were working pretty good,” said Greinke of his performance. “I located good, mixed up my pitches and it worked for a little bit.”
In all, Grienke retired his final 16 of 18 batters allowing one run on just two hits through six innings. He did not factor in the decision and is still unbeaten in his career against the Padres with a mark of 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
Yasiel Puig broke his 0 for 5 slump to begin the season with a leadoff double to left center to start the 6th inning. Gonzalez followed in the Cuban’s footsteps with a double of his own to tie the game at 1-1. Howie Kendrick singled up the middle on the next pitch to give the Dodgers the 2-1 lead.
Ross went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and is still winless against the Dodgers in his career.
“I was pretty amped up for my first start of the year,” said Ross “I mixed speed and location throughout the game and I have some great people behind me and they made great plays.”
Adrian Gonzalez continued his torrid hitting against his former team going 3 for 4 with a double, a home run, and three RBIs. Gonzalez hit a game-tying home run on the first pitch he saw from San Diego setup man Joaquin Benoit (1-0) in the bottom of the 8th inning.
“I was just trying to get good pitches to hit,” said Gonzalez. “But we lost the game, so none of that really matters.”
It was Gonzalez’s second thee-hit game in a row and his second consecutive game with a home run. He joins Cincinatti’s Ray Jablonski as the only players to open a season with a single, double, and home run in each of his first two games.
Wil Myers got the go-ahead run with an RBI single and the Padres scored four runs in the ninth inning off of Dodgers interim closer, Chris Hatcher (0-1).
“I couldn’t get the ball out of the middle of the zone,” said a disappointed Hatcher. “It started to snowball on me and that’s not a good recipe. I need to make better pitches.”
Craig Kimbrel made his first appearance after being traded to San Diego on Sunday. Kimbrel shut the door on the Dodgers in the ninth by striking out the side.
“He’s nasty,” said Ross of his new teammate. “I’m just happy he’s in a Padres uniform.”
Monday’s hero Jimmy Rollins struggled in the field as the 15-year veteran shortstop made two errors in the game, including a costly one in the 7th inning that allowed the Padres to tie the game at 2-2 instead of getting the Dodgers out of the inning.
Yasmani Grandal made his Dodgers debut at catcher against his former team. Grandal was the centerpiece of the blockbuster offseason trade that sent Matt Kemp to San Diego in exchange for Grandal, Joe Wieland, and cash considerations.
“In between those lines, they’re [the Padres] my enemy,” said Grandal of his former team. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to beat them, take them out, whatever it takes to win.”
Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The game was delayed nearly 40 minutes because of rain. Juan Nicasio made his Dodgers debut in the ninth inning. The Dodgers eight doubles through two games ties the franchise record set in 1995.