Los Angeles Dodgers On Fire: Currently Have Leagues Best Record
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ted Lilly pitched seven innings of two-hit ball in his season debut after coming off the disabled list, Matt Kemp hit a pair of two-run homers and Andre Ethier also went deep, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
The Dodgers, who had to win 25 of their final 35 games last season just to finish three games above .500, are off to a major league-leading 8-1 start — their best since beginning their 1981 World Series championship season 9-1.
Lilly, whose season was delayed because of neck stiffness, threw 79 pitches, struck out four and was charged with an unearned run. The 14-year veteran left-hander finished last season 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA after winning five of his final six starts.
The first batter Lilly faced, Cameron Maybin, reached on a two-base throwing error by shortstop Dee Gordon and scored on a two-out single by Jesus Guzman. But the Dodgers responded with four runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the second against Joe Wieland in his major league debut.
Kemp hit his first home run to center field after a leadoff walk to Gordon. Ethier followed with a drive into the right-field pavilion, and Adam Kennedy capped the Dodgers’ opening salvo with a sacrifice fly. One inning later, Kemp hit his fifth homer of the season to right field after a single by Tony Gwynn Jr.
Wieland was charged with six runs and six hits in five innings. The 22-year-old right-hander, born in Reno, Nev., came to the Padres at last year’s trade deadline along with fellow prospect Robbie Erlin in a deal that sent Mike Adams to the Texas Rangers. One day earlier, in his final start for Double-A Frisco, Wieland pitched a no-hitter against the Padres’ San Antonio affiliate.
Wieland made two starts this season for Triple-A Tucson before getting called up to fill in for right-hander Dustin Moseley, on the disabled list due to a right shoulder strain. Outfielder-first baseman Kyle Blanks was placed on the 15-day DL because of a troublesome left shoulder, opening up a spot for Wieland on the 25-man roster.
The only walk Lilly allowed was to Nick Hundley, who was 0 for 2 and is hitless in his first 21 at-bats — matching the worst season-opening drought of his five-year career. The longest by a Padres position player to start a season was Ozzie Smith’s 0 for 32 dry spell in 1979.
NOTES: The Dodgers announced that Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully is expected to return to the TV booth on Sunday for his first home game of the season, after missing the first five games of the homestand because of a bad cold. Scully, in his 62nd year with the organization at age 84, was at the microphone for the season-opening, four-game series at San Diego. … Nancy Bea Hefley threw a ceremonial first pitch for the first time since becoming the Dodger Stadium organist in 1988, the year the team won its last pennant and World Series title. Kemp was her catcher. … Kemp has homered against seven pitchers on the Padres’ roster. It was the first time he and Ethier homered back-to-back since April 16, 2010, in the first inning against San Francisco’s Todd Wellemeyer. … To make room for Lilly on the 25-man roster, RHP Todd Coffey was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of inflammation in his right knee. In the three games in which the 6-foot-4, 280-pounder has sprinted from the bullpen to the mound, he has allowed four earned runs in one inning of work.
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