March 30 (Sports Xchange) – San Diego outfielder Chris Denorfia lined a two-run, tiebreaking single through a drawn-in Dodgers infield to cap a three-run, eighth inning on Sunday, leading the Padres to a season-opening 3-1 home win over Los Angeles.
All three Padres runs came off reliever Brian Wilson, who entered the eighth with the Dodgers leading 1-0 behind seven shutout innings by left-handed starter Ryu Hyun-jin.
Pinch hitter Seth Smith, traded to San Diego from Oakland in the off-season, homered in his first at-bat with the Padres to greet Wilson and tie the score at 1-1.
“That’s why the Padres got him,” Wilson told reporters of Smith. “That’s what he does.”
After giving up the homer, Wilson walked pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal. The right-hander then fumbled shortstop Everth Cabrera’s sacrifice bunt for an error.
Denorfia lined his decisive single to center after Grandal reached third on a delayed steal and Cabrera took second a pitch later without the Dodgers contesting the play.
“What just happened is more difficult to deal with because Ryu pitched so well,” Wilson said. “I wasn’t able to get ahead in the count, and they took advantage of it.”
Right-hander Dale Thayer earned the win by retiring all three batters he faced in the eighth. Closer Huston Street picked up the save.
Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford’s two-out, two-strike line single over the head of Padres third baseman Chase Headley in the fifth drove in second baseman Dee Gordon with the game’s first run.
The run snapped a string of 20 straight scoreless innings pitched by Padres starter Andrew Cashner dating back to last season.
The Dodgers (2-1) opened their season in Australia last week with two wins over Arizona.
They were without Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw after he went to the disabled list with a back injury.
Ryu retired 16 straight Padres after left fielder Tommy Medica and center fielder Will Venable opened the second with back-to-back singles.
Cashner allowed the Dodgers one run on four hits over six innings. He had five strikeouts and two walks, both of which were issued in the fifth.
“It is something to build off of,” Cashner said. “It’s definitely nice to get a win. It’s such a tough lineup those guys have. You can’t make a lot of mistakes.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)