SAN DIEGO -- Clayton Kershaw staked his claim as one of baseball's greatest Opening Day performers, as the Dodgers won their season opener against the Padres in historic fashion, 15-0, at Petco Park on Monday afternoon.
The Los Angeles left-hander dazzled -- as he always seems to do on Opening Day -- tossing seven one-hit innings, while striking out nine. His Opening Day line improved to 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA -- the second lowest in history for a pitcher with at least five season-opening starts, one percentage point behind Rick Mahler.
"It was just a fun day," said Kershaw. "Fifteen -- hopefully I can make that stand up."
The 15-0 score marked the largest shutout victory on Opening Day in Major League history. It was also the Dodgers' biggest Opening Day win, and the most hits for the club on Opening Day since it moved to Los Angeles. The Padres, meanwhile, were dealt their worst season-opening defeat and their worst loss at Petco Park.
San Diego starter Tyson Ross struggled from the start, as Chase Utley and Corey Seager opened the game with back-to-back doubles and came around to score. Ross would allow eight runs (seven earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Utley, meanwhile, finished with three hits and reached base four times -- as did Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez -- in the managerial debut of Los Angeles skipper Dave Roberts.
"It's hard to pitch with runners on base and no outs," said Ross. "They did a good job of getting on the mistakes I made up over the plate, and it wasn't a good result."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Top of the order: After four innings and two times through the lineup, the Dodgers' top four batters combined for all five hits, three runs scored and three RBIs. Kershaw got a quick lead on back-to-back doubles by Utley, the club's 37-year-old leadoff hitter, and the 21-year-old Seager, who later scored on a Gonzalez single.
Un-gloveable: The Dodgers got a stroke of fortune during their five-run sixth inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Padres skipper Andy Green elected to bring the infield in. A.J. Ellis followed by bouncing a slow chopper toward short, but with Alexei Ramirez stationed on the infield grass, the ball caromed off his outstretched glove, allowing two runs to score and opening the floodgates for two more.
Joc delivers: After being called out on strikes in the second inning and having his sharp grounder gobbled up by a defensive shift in the fourth, Joc Pederson smoked an RBI double inside first base and later scored in the five-run sixth.
Welcome to the show, kid: Right-hander Luis Perdomo made his big league debut and was hit hard, to the tune of six runs on six hits in one-plus inning. A 22-year-old Rule 5 Draft pick, Perdomo had never pitched above Class A Advanced. The Padres view him as a part of their future rotation, but -- as a Rule 5 selection -- he'll need to make it through the entire season on the big league roster. Fellow Rule 5 pick Jabari Blash also debuted and walked in his lone plate appearance. Perdomo is ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Padres' No. 12 prospect, and Blash is ranked as No. 16.
"I think it's about as soft a landing as you can have, getting a guy introduced to the game, getting him in there as quickly as possible," said Padres manager Andy Green of Perdomo. "It's already a 6-0 game at that point in time. Get him on the mound quickly so his wheels stop turning. Obviously, it didn't go well for him though today."
"We play every single day. After this game is over, you just turn the page. It's just one of those games where it's going to happen. It just so happened to happen on Opening Day." -- Padres right fielder Matt Kemp
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Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was available, even though he sustained a small gash below his left eye while playing catch before the game. The cut was closed with tape and did not require stitches.
Dodgers:Scott Kazmir, Zack Greinke's replacement as the club's No. 2 starter, makes his Dodgers debut on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. PT. Kazmir posted a career-best 3.10 ERA last year, and although his ERA was 5.11 in the spring, he improved as the season approached. In his only start against San Diego last year, the left-hander allowed three runs (two earned) during a five-inning no-decision for Oakland.
Padres: Riding an absurd streak of nine consecutive seasons with at least 200 innings pitched and more than 30 starts, James Shields gets the ball against the Dodgers for Game 2 of 162. Shields made four starts against Los Angeles last season, striking out 25 in 25 innings and posting a 3.24 ERA.
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