LOS ANGELES — The long-awaited return for baseball commenced on Thursday, July 23, with the Los Angeles Dodgers beating the San Francisco Giants in an 8-1 opening day victory at Dodger Stadium.
A dominant five-run seventh inning from Los Angeles broke a 1-1 tie that the Giants would not be able to recover from. Kike Hernández recorded a strong stat line during the rivalry matchup, going 4-5 from behind the plate while contributing five RBI’s and a home run.
Rookie pitcher Dustin May started the game for the Dodgers, the first rookie to have started an opening day matchup for the ball club since Fernando Valenzuela did in 1981. May wasn’t originally on the team’s 30-man roster before the matchup, but was called last minute and given the nod to start in place of Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw was initially slated to get the start but was placed on the 10-day injured list to nurse a stiff back hours before the game.
Despite giving up seven hits during 4.1 innings of work, May allowed only one run off a sacrifice fly by Pablo Sandoval in the top of the third inning. The rookie pitcher also recorded four strikeouts in the matchup.
Johnny Cueto was the starting pitcher for the Giants, giving up one run and five hits while striking out three batters before getting pulled following the fourth inning.
Tyler Rogers recorded the loss for the Giants while Adam Kolarek earned the win for Los Angeles.
Mookie Betts made his Dodger debut recording one hit in his first appearance with Los Angeles, a single to left-field in the seventh inning. Betts would eventually reach home during the inning, beating out the tag at home plate from third.
“Felt like a weight came off my back. You’re just trying to get that first one. Seems like it’s the first on that’s the hardest to get,” Betts said following his debut with ESPN. “It was run on contact and I saw it on the ground. I tried to turn on the turbo to get there and I was able to get inside.”
The Dodgers and Giants play again on Friday, July, 24 for game two of their four-game series over the weekend. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. at Dodger Stadium.