SAN DIEGO – Kenta Maeda hit the Dodgers first home run of the season, and then pitched six shutout innings as Los Angeles silenced the San Diego Padres 7-0 on Wednesday for a franchise record third consecutive shutout to start the season.
Maeda (1-0) made history as he became the first Dodgers' pitcher to hit a home run in his first MLB game since 1900 (Elias Sports). He also hit the first home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2016 season.
"That's a tough one," Maeda said when asked by reporters what he was more pleased with: the home run or the six shutout innings. "I'm just very happy I got a W in my Major League Debut."
The Dodgers set multiple records during the game. They became the first team since the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals to open the season with three consecutive shutouts. Additionally, they extended their team and MLB record for consecutive shutout innings to start a season to 27.
On the flip side, the Padres set the record for futility as they became the first team in major league history to be shut out in their first three games. They also eclipsed the record set by the 1943 St. Louis Browns for most scoreless innings to start the season at 27.
The Dodgers demolished the Padres for the ninth consecutive game overall as they sweep the opening series by a combined score of 25-0. To put things in perspective, Dodgers rookie pitcher, Maeda, scored more runs (1) and hit more home runs (1) than the entire San Diego Padres team combined over three straight days.
Maeda drove an 0-2 slider from San Diego starter Andrew Cashner into the left field seats with one out in the fourth inning. The Japanese sensation then followed that up with six shutout innings. Maeda allowed no runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
"I've been playing for 8 years and I've hit one homer," said teammate Clayton Kershaw. "It was pretty impressive. It's going to be tough to match."
Yasiel Puig followed in Maeda's footsteps when he became the first position player to homer for the Dodgers this season. Puig hit a towering 384-foot blast to left field off Carlos Villanueva as he continues to knock the cover off the ball. In three games, Puig is 6-for-10 with 4 RBI, two triples and a homer.
But, the game was all about Maeda. Never in recent memory have we seen such a more impressive debut from the mound and from the plate. In addition to his home run. Maeda threw six shutout innings, following in the footsteps of Clayton Kershaw and Scott Kazmir before him.
It was another nightmare debut for Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner (0-1). The right-hander allowed three home runs to Adrian Gonzalez in his 2015 debut, and allowed five runs on six hits in four innings to start the season. Cashner wanted no part of Gonzalez on Wednesday as he walked the Dodgers' slugger every time he came to the plate.
Chase Utley continued his torrid stretch at leadoff for the Dodgers. The 37-year-old second baseman hit a triple to the gap in right-center to start the game, and scored two batters later on a Justin Turner single. After a Gonzalez walk and a Puig out, Carl Crawford doubled down the left field line and Joc Pederson followed with a two-run single to give the Dodgers an early 4-0 lead.
"I was a little bit nervous at first, but after my teammates scored four runs for me it relaxed me a lot," Maeda said of his nerves before the game. "After that, I was able to pitch the way I normally do."
Thankfully for Maeda, the four-run first inning turned out to be all the runs he needed as his fourth inning home run turned out to be for showmanship and insurance alone.
Players of the Game:
Kenta Maeda: 0 runs, 5 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts, 6IP. One monster home run!
Yasiel Puig: 3-for-4 with a home run.
Chase Utley: 1-for-5 with a triple and run scored.
1. Maeda Makes History: Japanese star, Kenta Maeda, became the fist Dodgers' pitcher since 1900 to hit a HR in his MLB debut. Maeda waved to the crowd -- many of them holding Japanese flags -- as he rounded third base and touched home. When he got tot he dugout, his teammates gave him the silent treatment before mobbing him.
2. Dodgers Shutout the Competition: The Los Angeles Dodgers set a franchise and tied an MLB record with three consecutive shutouts to start the season. In addition, they extended their team record for consecutive shutout innings to 27 to start the season and have scored 25 unanswered runs in 2016.
3. Padres on the Wrong side of History: The San Diego Padres still have not scored a run in 2016 and set an MLB record with 27 consecutive scoreless innings to start a seaon, surpassing the previous mark set by the 1943 St. Louis Browns.
Dodgers (3-0): Alex Wood makes his season debut in another day game for the Dodgers as they travel to San Francisco for a four-game series with the rival Giants.
Padres (0-3): San Diego gets a needed day of rest before heading out to Denver to take on the Colorado Rockies on Friday at 1:10 PM PST. Colin Rea gets the start for the Padres.