Opening Night: Denorfia’s Dagger

San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres

It was opening night in San Diego on Sunday, where the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers kicked off the MLB season at Petco Park. Clayton Kershaw didn’t pitch for the Dodgers (15-day DL), so another southpaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu got the nod for Los Angeles. Those would be some big shoes to fill for the young Korean, but Ryu did his part.

Ryu struggled early with his command, eventually getting himself into and out of a first inning bases loaded jam with a 1-2-3 double play. Then he became Korean Kershaw. He ended up throwing seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, and at one point retired 16 consecutive hitters. Ryu would leave the game with a 1-0 lead, the lone run coming from a Carl Crawford RBI-single in the fifth inning.

Dodgers’ manager, Don Mattingly, went with Brian Wilson to begin the top of the eighth inning. Three pitches later and the game was tied; 1-1. Wilson left a pitch over the plate, and Padres pinch-hitter Seth Smith launched it over the right field wall. The eighth inning would only get worse after that. Wilson walked Yasmani Grandal, and then badly misplayed Everth Cabrera’s sacrifice bunt. With runners on second and third with no outs, Padres Chris Denorfia bunted through Wilson’s pitch, Juan Uribe was charging in hard from third base and couldn’t recover before Grandal stole the empty base without a throw. The Dodgers allowed Cabrera to steal second shortly after and then Denforia’s dagger of a two-run single gave San Diego the 3-1 lead.

Wilson never recorded an out, Chris Perez got one before Paco Rodriguez came in and struck out the rest. Houston Street, the Padres closer put the Dodgers to bed in the top-half of the ninth inning. The Dodgers left six runners on base Sunday night but left Ryu without any reward for his stellar performance in place of the two-time CY Young Award winner. It’s a loss that will linger for a bit, or at least for a day, until the Dodgers play San Diego again on Tuesday.

Final Score; San Diego Padres 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 1