Seth Smith hit a tying homer leading off the eighth inning and Chris Denorfia singled home two runs to give the San Diego Padres a 3-1 victory against the rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers in baseball’s North American opener on Sunday.
Smith’s first hit with the Padres came on a 2-0 pitch from Brian Wilson, who started the eighth after Ryu Hyun-jin threw seven scoreless innings.
It was his seventh career pinch-hit homer. He was acquired in an off-season trade with Oakland for reliever Luke Gregerson.
Wilson (0-1) walked pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal, who advanced when the veteran reliever could not handle Everth Cabrera’s bunt for an error. Grandal stole third and Cabrera took second on indifference, before Denorfia hit a bouncer up the middle to bring them both in.
Dale Thayer (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Huston Street finished for the save.
Defending National League West champions the Dodgers had started the regular season with a two-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia, the previous weekend.
Ryu got the start after reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was scratched due to a swollen back muscle and then placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career.
In a scheduling quirk, the left-hander started consecutive regular-season games. He made his season debut a week earlier, when the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks in their second game in Sydney.
Ryu retired 16 in a row from the second inning until one out in the seventh. He then walked rookie Tommy Medica, who was then erased in a 3-6-3 double-play.
Ryu allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked three.
The Dodgers grabbed the lead on a nice piece of hitting by Carl Crawford with two out in the fifth.
Crawford went the other way with an 0-2 pitch from Andrew Cashner, hitting it over third baseman Chase Headley to bring in Dee Gordon from second. Gordon had reached on a walk and advanced when Cashner fielded Ryu’s bunt and forced A.J. Ellis at third.
Cashner allowed four hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked two.
The bulk of teams were opening their major league seasons yesterday.