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Jimmy Rollins Rocket Lifts Dodgers Over Padres 6-3 on Opening Day

Jimmy Rollins hit his first career home run as a member of the Dodgers and LA defeated San Diego 6-3 on Opening Day

It was Opening Day in Los Angeles on Monday and for a couple of Dodgers fresh faces, it was a chance to make an impact in front of their new fans. New additions Howie Kendrick (acquired from Angels) and Jimmy Rollins (acquired from Phillies) drove in four runs and the Dodgers came from behind to beat the Padres 6-3 to open the season.
Kendrick knocked in the tying run in the bottom of the 7th inning, and Rollins hit a game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the 8th to break the 3-3 tie and give the Dodgers the victory over their Southern California neighbors.
“I told him ‘I felt like I hit it,’ when he hit that home run,” joked Kendrick of Rollins homer. “I was so happy that he hit it. That’s how you want to feel, you want to be happy for the next guy.”
Former Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was making a fresh start of his own, albeit in the same stadium he played his entire illustrious career in. Kemp was stunned and saddened when he heard he had been traded to the San Diego Padres during the offseason. On Monday, he returned to Los Angeles and nearly spoiled the Dodgers Opening Day party.
Kemp went 2-4 with a double and drove in all three of the Padres runs in his first game wearing a uniform other than the Dodgers. Adding to the intrigue was the fact that Kemp had to go up against his friend and former teammate, Clayton Kershaw, who was making his fifth consecutive Opening Day start for Los Angeles.
“Honestly, I have no idea how to get him out yet,” said Kershaw before the game.


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That fact was proven on the field, as Kemp had no trouble with the reigning NL CY Young and MVP winner.
“Matt’s strengths and what Clayton does cross paths so it was a clash of the Titans,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly after the game. “It was one of those matchups where something had to give. Clayton is going to do what he does and Matt is going to do what he does.”
Nerves got the better of Kershaw in the first inning. The Dodgers’ ace hit Padres leadoff hitter, Wil Myers, in the back of the knee to start the game, and allowed Myers to steal second a batter later.
Kemp drove in Myers with a single up the middle that gave the Padres the 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers would rally in the fourth off of Padres starter James Shields. Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning with a solo homer to right field that just snuck inside the foul pole. Kendrick, followed with a triple over Meyer’s head, and Carl Crawford brought him home with a double on the next pitch.
“I was looking fastball, something up in the zone and he [Shields] left it middle-middle,” said Gonzalez of his homerun. “I was trying to stay through the zone and I was able to lift it.”
Shields stopped the rally by intentionally walking A.J. Ellis to get to Kershaw. The new Padres ace that was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in the offseason struck out Kershaw on four pitches. Shields surrendered two runs on six hits and struck out eight over six innings. 
Kemp knocked Kershaw around again in the top half of the inning. After a leadoff double by Clint Barmes, Kershaw struck out the next two batters before Padres catcher, Derek Norris, reached base on a very close infield single. Norris ran out a grounder to third and just did beat the throw by Uribe to extend the inning. After watching the replay, Kershaw went back to the mound and served up a two-run double to Kemp.
"He's a good hitter. He got the best of me today," said Kershaw of facing Kemp. "He got the better of me today so I got a lot of years left to face him and hopefully I start to figure out how to get him out."
Kershaw went six innings, allowing three runs, and six hits while striking out nine. Kershaw got a no decision and is still unbeaten on Opening Day at 3-0. 
The Dodgers would come from behind in the bottom of the 7th with back-to-back doubles by Gonzalez and Kendrick.
An inning later, it was Jimmy Rollins to the rescue. Rollins took Shawn Kelly deep to right field and into the Padres bullpen for a three-run, game-winning home run. It was Rollins first homerun as a Dodger, and his 11th consecutive opening day with at least one hit.
“I just had a vision,” Rollins said of his first home run in blue. “It’s not the first home run I’ve hit, it’s not the first one to win a game either, hopefully it’s something we can get used to.”
Chris Hatcher shut the door from there to earn his first career save.
Game Notes:
Former Dodgers Cy Young winners, Don Newcombe (1956), Fernando Valenzuela (1981) and Eric Gagne (2003) threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.
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