Rollins' Homer Gives Dodgers Opening Day Win
April 6, 2015
Former Dodger Matt Kemp drove in all three of the Padres runs, but it was the former Philly, Jimmy Rollins, and his three-run blast in the eighth that would out-shadow Kemp and help the Dodgers to victory, 6-3, in the home-opener Monday.
Howie Kendrick, former Angels great, also contributed for the Dodgers with two hits, one run and one RBI, while mainstay Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo blast in the fourth.
Putting the icing on the cake was pitcher Chris Hatcher filling in as the closer in the ninth, and after hitting his first batter he held the Padres scoreless to earn his first career save. He filled in for injured closer Kenley Jansen.
"When I went to the mound, I was too excited and in awe," Hatcher said. "Then I relaxed after hitting the first batter."
Kemp, traded to the Padres in the off-season, and a two-time All-Star was the only player who made it difficult for Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, the reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner in the NL. Kemp went two for three with a double against him.
Of the five consecutive opening-day starts featuring Kershaw, this was his least effective. In his four previous season-openers, he was 3-0 and gave up only one run. Dodger reliever Joel Peralta would get the win this time.
"Clayton and I had never called pitches with Matt at the plate before," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "I had no idea where he stood in the batter's box. I had no idea what pitches were going to work.
" I've played with Matt since rookie ball in 2003, but I don't think I'd ever sat behind home plate when he was hitting. That was bizarre and pretty surreal."
"He [Kemp] got the best of me today," an emotionally-drained Kershaw admitted. "They gave me the lead, 2-1, and I wasn't able to hold it. A little bit disappointed with that, but you know what? We got some clutch hits."
After the game, manager Don Mattingly seemed pleased with the win while addressing questions about the player's efforts.
"Jimmy [Rollins] looked good all spring, good to see him on our side today," Mattingly said. "He is moving good, has played in 15 straight openers and is a pro, on and off the field...got one on the plate [homer]."
"Hatcher was a good matchup," Mattingly went on to say. "He has weapons from both sides [of the plate], can pitch to lefties and righties and has three good pitches."
Mattingly also spoke about Kendrick and Andre Ethier.
"Seen him [Kendrick] when he was young. He's a tough out and really knows how to play...and Ethier will be a big part of our club, a good player who is swinging the bat well. He might be an everyday player, eventually."