Haren's LA story starts with a 'W'
Righty stifles Padres as Dodgers take series
SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers lost Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson on the strangest season-opening road trip imaginable, but they won four of five anyway, including Wednesday night's 5-1 victory over the Padres at Petco Park.
Dan Haren debuted as a Dodger with six innings that were more solid than any he recorded during Spring Training, and now the Dodgers prepare for a Friday home opener that should include the 2014 debut of outfielder Matt Kemp with a club determined not to let injuries dictate the course of the first half the way it did last season.
Haren rejected the notion that Dodgers starting pitchers feel they need to outdo each other in Kershaw's absence.
"Absolutely not," he said. "Rather than compete with ourselves, we need to pull together. With Clayton going down, it can't be any one guy. It takes an effort by everybody, everybody stepping up and pulling their weight. If we all do well, he'll feel less of a sense of urgency to come back. He won't have to rush."
Haren was spotted a comfy, early lead when Hanley Ramirez doubled home a pair of runs in a three-run first inning off San Diego's Tyson Ross. They were the first RBIs of the season for Ramirez, who entered the game hitting .067. Ramirez also walked and stole a base.
Haren, exempted from the Dodgers' trip to Australia, allowed one unearned run on four hits with six strikeouts and no walks. He threw 92 pitches only four days after allowing the Angels six runs in two innings in the Spring Training version of the Freeway Series.
"That was not what I wanted to show," he said of his spring finale. "My cutter tonight was much better, the way it has to be. I got strikeouts in big situations. Everything was working good, and as I went along the cutter was even better. Quite a change from four days ago."
Haren admitted he was nervous, despite debuting for five other Major Leagues teams in his career.
"A new team, you want to make a good impression," he said. "I'm glad I did that. I feel like part of the team. I hadn't done anything until now."
Haren said he felt left out being left behind to pitch in Minor League games in Arizona when the club went to Australia for the two-game Opening Series against the D-backs.
"I really wasn't with the team much," he said. "Teams bond on the road, on the plane, on the bus. I didn't have that. I'm glad I was able to come through."
Haren no longer lights up the radar gun, sitting in the high 80s.
"I don't think it's velocity at this point," said manager Don Mattingly. "He just needs to be hard enough. I saw 88, 89. If he's 85, 86, everything is too close together. But he throws to both sides of the plate, he uses the cutter and goes down and sideways, he changes speed and depth. Danny can do it. I hope we get that kind of guy every time out."
The Dodgers gave Haren a quick lead. Carl Crawford opened the game with a double. Yasiel Puig, who homered Tuesday, dropped a bunt in front of Ross, whose throw to first was ruled by umpire Sean Barber to have pulled Yonder Alonso off the bag with Crawford taking third on the sacrifice and error.
Ramirez then doubled inside third base and into the corner, scoring Crawford and Puig. Adrian Gonzalez defeated San Diego's defensive shift with a single to center as Ramirez scored.
Haren was perfect through three innings but lost his shutout in the fourth. Everth Cabrera led off with a single. Seth Smith was awarded first base on catcher's interference, with catcher A.J. Ellis and Mattingly arguing with plate umpire Jim Reynolds on a call that cannot be challenged by replay.
Cabrera tagged to third on Chase Headley's flyout, and he scored on Alonso's single. According to MLB.com's Corey Brock, it marked the ninth consecutive start the Padres supported Ross with only one run.
The Dodgers got that run back in the fifth. With one out, Ramirez walked, stole second, took third on Gonzalez's groundout and scored on Andre Ethier's line-drive single that seemed to fool second baseman Jedd Gyorko.
The Dodgers padded the lead in the eighth on singles by Juan Uribe and Ellis and an RBI double by Dee Gordon. The Dodgers went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position.