|L.A. Dodgers (4-1) «||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||x||2||7||0|
LOS ANGELES -- The fans in right field began serenading Andre Ethier midway through the home opener Tuesday, singing several choruses of "Happy Birthday" and raising drinks in honor of both the outfielder's 30th birthday and Dodger Stadium's 50th anniversary.
Atmosphere, it's not going to change magically overnight. Especially with Magic Johnson out. Read More >>
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On such a celebratory day for this revitalized franchise, Ethier felt he couldn't send those fans home without a win.
"I guess that's a good birthday present for this stadium, too," Ethier said.
Exactly 50 years after Dodger Stadium opened, Ethier hit a solo shot off Jason Grilli (0-1) before emerging from the dugout for a curtain call that didn't seem out of place, even in early April.
Ethier and Clayton Kershaw both noticed the sellout crowd buzzing throughout the afternoon, fairly pulsating with something more than the usual spring optimism of baseball fans. After two years of mediocrity on the field and increasingly bizarre developments in the front office of Southern California's much-loved team, the Dodgers are off to a 4-1 start to their first season since resolving Frank McCourt's messy ownership tenure.
"Everybody is excited about what's going on right now, and rightfully so," said Ethier, starting his seventh season with the Dodgers. "The vibe in this stadium today, that's an addicting feeling. We had that for several years here, and then it went away, and part of that was how we were playing on the field. It felt good to look up and see that support again."
Matt Kemp drove in a run in a club record-tying ninth straight game with a first-inning groundout for the Dodgers, but Matt Hague's RBI grounder in the seventh evened it. Los Angeles couldn't capitalize on seven strong innings from Kershaw, with Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia largely matching the NL Cy Young Award winner.
"Even in camp, these guys were fired up about what we thought we could do," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It seems like we're going to be in a lot of close games this season, no matter what. We're going to have to get big hits and big outs when we need them, and we did that today."
The Dodgers began the 50th-anniversary celebration of their ballpark with numerous tributes to their venerable stadium while welcoming back several members of their 1962 roster, including Maury Wills and Tommy Davis. Two notable figures didn't join the festivities, however: broadcaster Vin Scully stayed home to nurse a cold, and prospective new Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson was away in New York.
Kershaw allowed four hits and struck out seven, bouncing back from his first start last week in San Diego, which ended after three innings because of an illness that lingered until recently. He failed to win at home for just the third time in 14 starts, but still hasn't lost at Dodger Stadium since early last season.
Pittsburgh opened a nine-game trip with just five hits against Kershaw and the Dodgers' bullpen. After Grilli yielded the decisive homer, Andrew McCutchen grounded into a game-ending double play.
"I love the adversity," Grilli said. "If I don't, then I shouldn't be doing this. But I relish it. I mean, I'm not happy about what happened today, but I can't wait to get the ball the next time, because I'm going to win that battle. I guess the good thing about being a reliever is that you can come back out tomorrow and redeem yourself and be a hero."
Correia yielded four hits and two walks over six innings in his season debut for Pittsburgh after missing the final six weeks of last season with a strained oblique.
"It's a small sample, but we've been pitching great," Pirates catcher Rod Barajas said. "But we've had some tough matchups: [Roy] Halladay, [Cliff) Lee, [Cole] Hamels, and then we get Kershaw, but we're competing day in and day out. So no matter who's on the mound, we're going to battle. Hopefully we come out on top more often than not."
|Andre Ethier, who turns 30, hits a tiebreaking HR with two outs in the eighth on Dodger Stadium's 50th anniversary. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Jose Tabata, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.167|
|Alex Presley, LF||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||.353|
|Andrew McCutchen, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.333|
|Casey McGehee, 3B||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.333|
|Matt Hague, 1B||3||0||0||1||0||2||1||.143|
|Neil Walker, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.077|
|Rod Barajas, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.100|
|Clint Barmes, SS||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.000|
|Kevin Correia, P||2||0||1||0||0||1||0||.500|
|Juan Cruz, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Garrett Jones, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jason Grilli, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Cruz in the 8th|
|3B - Casey McGehee (1, Kershaw)|
|RBI - Matt Hague (2)|
|CS - Kevin Correia (1, 2nd base by Kershaw/Ellis)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|DP - McGehee-Walker-Hague|
|Jason Grilli (L,0-1)||1||1||1||1||0||2||1||4.50|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Correia 81-52, Juan Cruz 17-12, Jason Grilli 18-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Correia 11-3, Jason Grilli 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Kevin Correia 23, Juan Cruz 5, Jason Grilli 4|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Dee Gordon, SS||3||1||1||0||1||1||2||.238|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.158|
|Matt Kemp, CF||4||0||0||1||0||2||0||.333|
|Andre Ethier, RF||4||1||2||1||0||1||0||.316|
|Juan Rivera, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.278|
|Javy Guerra, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|James Loney, 1B||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.000|
|Juan Uribe, 3B||3||0||3||0||0||0||0||.267|
|A.J. Ellis, C||3||0||0||0||0||2||3||.250|
|Clayton Kershaw, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.500|
|a- Adam Kennedy, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.200|
|Kenley Jansen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Tony Gwynn Jr., LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-singled for Kershaw in the 7th|
|HR - Andre Ethier (2, Grilli)|
|SH - Clayton Kershaw (1)|
|RBI - Matt Kemp (9), Andre Ethier (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Andre Ethier (7)|
|SB - Dee Gordon (4, 2nd base off Correia/Barajas)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Gordon-Ellis-Loney|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Kenley Jansen (W,1-0)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||4.50|
|Javy Guerra (S,3)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Kershaw 88-65, Kenley Jansen 15-12, Javy Guerra 10-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Kershaw 8-5, Kenley Jansen 1-0, Javy Guerra 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Clayton Kershaw 24, Kenley Jansen 3, Javy Guerra 3|
|Attendance - 56000|
|Game Time - 2:26|
|Temperature - 67|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Knight, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Mark Wegner|