While one homer after another rocketed into the stands at Chavez Ravine, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ dugout celebrations became increasingly incredulous.
Five homers in the first six innings? Then three more in the seventh? Even the Dodgers’ power-packed lineup was impressed by itself.
“We were all wondering if it was a record,” Enrique Hernandez said with a grin.
After the Dodgers finally finished hitting eight home runs in a 12-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, they all agreed they had never experienced an opening day quite so powerful.
Neither had any team in MLB history, actually.
Hernandez and Joc Pederson each homered twice as Los Angeles set the big league record for homers on opening day and tied the franchise mark for any game.
The Dodgers’ pursuit of a third straight National League pennant and seventh consecutive National League West title got off to a thrilling start, with no trace of a hangover from their World Series-ending loss to Boston.
They obliterated the opening day record of six homers set by the Mets in 1988 and matched by the White Sox last year.
“This is a fun offense,” Max Muncy said. “A couple of guys go out and get a homer, and it makes you want to get one of your own.”
“Hitting is contagious,” Cody Bellinger said. “You see guys hit and you want to get into the party.”
All eight dingers were hit by returning players to the Dodgers, who only have two new position players on their opening day roster.
“Everyone kind of knocked us last year for scoring too many runs off homers,” Muncy said. “But if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it like that.”
The Dodgers provided ample support for Ryu Hyun-jin, who yielded four hits and struck out eight over six stellar innings as Los Angeles’ first opening day starter not named Clayton Kershaw since 2010.
Meanwhile, Zach Greinke’s latest return to Dodger Stadium was a debacle.
The US$206.5 million right-hander allowed four homers for the fifth time in his career, but only the second time this decade.
“Yeah, it was bad,” Greinke said. “Not really much to build off, because all that stuff was bad, so that’s probably the most disappointing thing.”
The embarrassing loss added to a rough week for the Diamondbacks, who on Monday lost probable cleanup hitter Steven Souza Jr to a season-ending knee injury.
“You band together and you get off the ropes, stagger back into the middle of the ring and keep punching,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “And I know this team will do that.”
The six-month campaign began for the other 28 teams with typical opening day festivities across several venues, starting with the New York Yankees’ 7-2 win over Baltimore in New York and the New York Mets’ 2-0 win at Washington.
The Boston Red Sox, who vanquished the Dodgers in the World Series last season, fell 12-4 to the Mariners in Seattle.
Additional reporting by AFP
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