Padres 3, Dodgers 1

Padres 3, Dodgers 1: Smith, Denorfia power Padres' outburst in eighth

2014-03-30T20:40:00Z 2014-03-30T22:17:06Z Padres 3, Dodgers 1: Smith, Denorfia power Padres' outburst in eighthThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 30, 2014 8:40 pm  • 

SAN DIEGO — For one day at least, the moderate-payroll San Diego Padres are in first place in the NL West, ahead of the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers.

Seth Smith hit a towering drive for a tying homer leading off the eighth and Chris Denorfia singled home two runs to give the Padres a 3-1 victory against the rival Dodgers in baseball’s North American opener Sunday night.

Smith’s first hit with the Padres came on a 2-0 pitch from Brian Wilson, who started the eighth after Hyun-Jin Ryu threw seven scoreless innings. It sailed an estimated 360 feet into the right-field seats. It was his seventh career pinch-hit homer. He was acquired in an offseason trade with Oakland for reliever Luke Gregerson.

Wilson (0-1) walked pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal, who advanced when the veteran reliever couldn’t handle Everth Cabrera’s bunt for an error. Grandal stole third and Cabrera took second on indifference before Denorfia hit a bouncer up the middle to bring them both in.

“They’re all just one game, but when you’re facing a team like the Dodgers, full of great players, Brian Wilson, a guy who knows how to get it done in those situations, it’s not easy to do what our hitters did,” said Huston Street, who pitched a perfect ninth for the save. “To come back and get three right there in that situation, especially after leaving guys on base early, that’s what this team is going to have to do to win. We’re going to have to battle all year long.”

The Dodgers set a record with an opening-day payroll of $234 million. The Padres are 23rd at just under $90 million.

Street said he has no problem with the discrepancy.

“They’ve got a lot of talent and their talent has earned those salaries,” Street said. “They’re not just given. At the same time, a lot of guys in this locker room are young guys. They haven’t hit that free agency mark. They haven’t hit those big salary years. We could be sitting on a higher payroll team. You don’t worry about it too much just because baseball is such a game of execution.”

Dale Thayer (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for the win.

Smith was acquired to provide a left-handed bat off the bench. He went deep on a cutter.

“You get in the box and it’s an at-bat,” he said. “As a professional ballplayer you hope that you can kind of flush the fact that it’s your first at-bat with your team or it’s in a big spot or whatever, and just do what you’ve been practicing for the last six weeks.”

Wilson said it was tough to deal with because Ryu “pitched such a marvelous game. It’s a hard one to swallow.”

He said he threw a pitch “that was a little bit uncharacteristic of me. Right then and there, the tire deflated.”

The defending NL West champion Dodgers had started the regular season with a two-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney.

Ryu got the start after reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was scratched due to a swollen back muscle and then placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career.

In a scheduling quirk, the left-hander started consecutive regular-season games. He made his season debut a week earlier, when the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks in their second game in Australia.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

From Tucson to Phoenix or Phoenix to Flagstaff. We can take care of all your moving needs in Arizona!

We specialize in intrastate moving throughout Arizona. Free in…