MLB: Clayton Kershaw helps Dodgers win season-opener against Diamondbanks
Last Updated: 22/03/14 12:54pm
Los Angeles Dodgers' $200 million investment in Clayton Kershaw is paying early returns after the pitcher helped secure a 3-1 win over Arizona Diamondbacks in MLB's season-opener in Australia on Saturday.
The Dodgers have invested heavily in a big-budget roster in an attempt to end 26 years without a trip to the World Series and got off to a great start under the lights at the unfamiliar ground of the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
After taking the lead in the second innings on an Andre Ethier RBI, the Dodgers moved ahead 3-0 in the fourth when outfielder Scott Van Slyke delighted the 38,266 crowd with a two-run homer to right.
Double Cy Young winner Kershaw, who signed the richest contract ever for a pitcher in January worth $30million (£18.2m) a season, allowed five hits and struck out seven batters in 6 2/3rd innings to secure the victory.
The start of the first major league game in Australia for a century was delayed by rain and the new season got underway 14 minutes behind schedule when Wade Miley threw a strike to Dodgers rightfielder Yasiel Puig.
It was not a great evening for either player, left-hander Miley taking the loss after giving up three runs in five innings and Cuban Puig going 0 for 5.
Hit the fence
Van Slyke fell just short of the first home run of the year when his flyball at the top of the second hit the fence with D-backs leftfielder Mark Trumbo having completely misjudged its flight.
It did not take too long for the Dodgers to notch up the first run of the new season, though, and an RBI groundout by Ethier sent Adrian Gonzalez home to score in the same inning.
Van Slyke made no mistake in the fourth to triple the lead with his homer to right, delighting the crowd when he sent the ball over the fence just inside the foul-line.
Arizona finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth when a Trumbo RBI allowed first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to come home and reduce the lead to 3-1.
Miley was a late replacement for D-Backs ace Patrick Corbin, who suffered a serious elbow injury last weekend which looks like ruling him out for the season.
Brian Wilson pitched the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen got the save. Jansen walked a batter before getting Gerardo Parra to ground out to end the game. South Korean Ryu Hyun-jin goes up against Arizona's Trevor Cahill in the second and final match of the series on Sunday.