The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants renewed their rivalry on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium in the nightcap of Major League Baseball's Opening Day doubleheader. The game's first pitch was delivered by Dustin May -- not Clayton Kershaw, who was placed on the injured list earlier in the day with back stiffness. The Dodgers nonetheless found a way to prevail by an 8-1 final behind some timely hitting and strong pitching.
Here are three takeaways from the Los Angeles win.
Betts makes statement; Hernandez stars
Mookie Betts made his Dodgers debut on Thursday night. Before officially taking his first cut, he made headlines by kneeling during the national anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
During the game, Betts went 1 for 5 with a single that spurred a seventh-inning rally. Cody Bellinger followed Betts' single with a double, putting a pair of runners in scoring position. Justin Turner then plated Betts on a fielder's choice that saw the former AL MVP slide in ahead of a tag:
It wasn't the most eventful game for Betts -- nothing from this game will make his end-of-season highlight reel -- but he still contributed to a win.
The Dodgers offense, by the way, was paced by Enrique Hernandez. He notched four hits, including a two-run home run late, and drove in five runs.
May pitches well in spot-start
As noted in the introduction, the Dodgers were forced to start May, a 22-year-old making his 15th career big-league appearance. He may not have pitched like prime Kershaw, but he held his own.
May tossed 4 1/3 innings, scattering seven hits, no walks, and one run. He struck out four batters and threw 46 of his 60 pitches for strikes.
Although that hit total is jarring, most of May's contact was weak in nature. His average exit velocity on the night was just under 79 miles per hour. Last season, Julio Urias led the majors in exit velocity against with an 84 mph average.
Dodgers bullpen holds steady
As noted above, May was out before the completion of the fifth inning. That didn't matter. Manager Dave Roberts mixed and matched with his bullpen, and L.A.'s relievers delivered.
Caleb Ferguson, Pedro Baez, Adam Kolarek, and Brusdar Graterol permitted just one hit, no runs, and no walks over four-plus frames. They struck out four batters and both Baez and Kolarek pitched across multiple innings.
As a result, the Dodgers are now 1-0.