Raise the curtain; the Dodgers revenge season has officially begun.
After falling short in Game 7 of the World Series last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers took the field for Opening Day on Thursday against the rival San Francisco Giants.
Joe Panik hit a solo shot off Clayton Kershaw in the fifth inning for the only run of the game, and the Dodgers dropped the opener for the first time since 2010, 1-0.
"He made just one mistake to Panik and he hit it out," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "So you have to give credit to him."
The shutout loss snapped their league-leading seven-game Opening Day win-streak, and now leaves the Baltimore Orioles as the leaders with eight consecutive Opening Day wins after they defeated the Minnesota Twins, 3-2 on Thursday.
Kershaw was less than stellar, escaping multiple jams throughout the night until he was finally bit by a fly ball from Panik that just snuck inside the right field foul pole.
"I was fortunate enough to get out of a few jams, but Panik put one good swing on a ball and it cost us the game," said Kershaw. "If you give up 8 hits and a lot of runs you get 'blasted,' if you only give up one run you 'scattered them.'"
Kershaw (0-1), allowed just the one run on eight hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in six innings. At the plate, Kershaw had two of the Dodgers six total hits.
"I should have batted him third," joked Roberts.
It was the first Opening Day loss of Kershaw's career, falling to 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA on Opening Day. According to STATS, LLC, the three-time Cy Young Award winner's ERA is the lowest in history with at least six Opening Day starts.
"Overall, there's a lot of things I could have done better today," added Kershaw. "It's not a negative today necessarily, but there's definitely a lot of things I can takeaway from this one and get better at."
Kershaw has made eight consecutive Opening Day starts for the Dodgers and was undefeated in those starts entering the game. His eight straight starts are the most in Dodger history, and the second longest active streak behind Seattle Mariner's ace Felix Hernandez who made his 10th consecutive start on Thursday.
The Dodgers fell to 33-28 on Opening Day since 1958 with their last Opening Day shutout loss coming on March 31, 1998 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Best Bumgarner Impression:
The San Francisco Giants were originally supposed to start Madison Bumgarner on Thursday, but he fractured his pinkie finger on this throwing hand during his last Spring Training start.
Third-year lefthander, Ty Blach, made the start and did his best Bumgarner impression, allowing no runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts in five scoreless innings.
It was not the first time Blach had beaten Kershaw either, the 27-year-old Colorado native earned his first Major Leage victory against Kershaw on October 1, 2016 in a game that also ended 1-0.
"That game was Oct. 1 and we were trying to get into the playoffs," Blach said of that start. "So I used that adrenaline I felt from the last time I went against him [Kershaw] and was able to harness that again today."
Blach has been succesful against the Dodgers over the course of his young career, posting a record of 3-2 with a 1.96 ERA in four starts against Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are in search of their sixth consecutive N.L. West division title in 2018, which would put them in third all-time for consecutive division titles since 1969.
The 2018 campaign also marks the Dodgers 60th anniversary of playing in Los Angeles, and the 30th anniversary since the last time they won a World Series Championship in 1988.
And Look Who's Coming Up:
1988 MVP and World Series hero, Kirk Gibson, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2015, and the Dodgers will be donating proceeds of the "Kirk Gibson Seat 88" in right field to the Kirk Gibson Foundation throughout the season.
RHP Johnny Cueto starts for San Francisco opposite LHP Alex Wood for the Dodgers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.