By Jon Weisman
It wasn’t the offensive display of 27 hours earlier, but the Dodgers still delivered when needed to win their second straight game over the Padres to start the season.
The second of Corey Seager’s three hits kicked off a fourth inning that was highlighted by Yasiel Puig’s second triple in as many nights, giving the Dodgers their first lead of what became a 3-0 victory.
Following Seager’s leadoff single in the inning off Padres starter James Shields, Justin Turner was robbed of extra-bases by an odd duck of a catch by Matt Kemp, who took a button hook to right-center before diving for the ball.
However, Adrian Gonzalez did secure a double of his own to send Seager to third base, and Puig followed with a triple to center. Carl Crawford then singled the opposite way to bring home Puig, who has reached base six times in his first nine plate appearances this season, with a 1.833 OPS.
[mlbvideo id=”574854983″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
“Yasiel is having good at-bats,” Dave Roberts said, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “That was a big hit. For the most part, he’s swinging at strikes and taking balls. When he gets on base and conducts those at-bats in the middle of the order, good things are going to happen.”
Seager’s fifth-inning double was the only Dodger hit among their remaining 20 batters of the game (Joc Pederson walked in the ninth), but after Scott Kazmir completed his sixth shutout inning, Dodger relievers Pedro Baez, Chris Hatcher and Kenley Jansen combined for three innings of shutout relief on 40 pitches, allowing one hit and striking out six. The Dodgers retired 25 straight batters until Jansen gave up a single to Jon Jay in the ninth.
Neither of the Padres’ hits tonight left the infield. In two games, San Diego is 6 for 60 (five singles, one double) with two walks and 21 strikeouts.
The Dodgers have opened the season with two consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1974, when Don Sutton and Tommy John pitched back-to-back, 8-0 shutouts over … San Diego. The 18 runs in the Dodgers’ first two games is their best season-opening pair since 2000, when they opened the season with back-to-back 10-4 over-and-out wins at Montreal.
Dodgers are first team to open a season w/back-to-back starts of a pitcher allowing 1 (or 0) hit since 1918 Reds https://t.co/IAHc62fVeu
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) April 6, 2016
Never before in Major League history has a team begun the season with two starting pitchers going at least five innings and giving up no more than one hit.