Published November 20, 2014
Andre Ethier hit a tiebreaking homer with two outs in the eighth inning, sending the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in their home opener Tuesday.
Exactly 50 years after Dodger Stadium opened, Ethier hit a solo shot on his 30th birthday, a drive into the right-field stands off Jason Grilli (0-1). Ethier emerged from the dugout after his second homer of the season for a curtain call from the robust crowd of 56,000.
Kenley Jansen (1-0) pitched the eighth, and Javy Guerra pitched the ninth for his third save, sending the Dodgers to a 4-1 start to their first season since resolving Frank McCourt's messy ownership tenure.
Pittsburgh opened a nine-game trip with just five hits against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers' bullpen, and Andrew McCutchen grounded into a game-ending double play.
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, while Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia largely matched the NL Cy Young Award winner.
The Dodgers began the 50th-anniversary celebration of their ballpark with the usual party atmosphere surrounding home openers. 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.
The Dodgers welcomed back several members of their 1962 roster, including Maury Wills and Tommy Davis, and the first pitch was thrown out by Terry Seidler — whose mother, Kay O'Malley, the wife of then-owner Walter O'Malley, threw out the park's first pitch a half-century ago.
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. 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.
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.
Juan Uribe had three hits for the Dodgers.
Dee Gordon led off the first with a single and scored on a groundout by Kemp, who tied the franchise record for consecutive games with an RBI shared by Roy Campanella and Augie Galan.
The Pirates' only serious scoring threat in the first six innings occurred when Kemp lost Casey McGehee's long drive in the sun at the center-field wall for a leadoff triple in the second. Kershaw struck out Matt Hague and Neil Walker before getting a flyout from Rod Barajas, a Dodgers catcher for the past two seasons.
Pittsburgh finally evened it when Alex Presley and McCutchen had consecutive singles, advancing on McGehee's long fly before Hague's grounder scored Presley.
NOTES: The Beach Boys, who are also celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, performed before the game and sang the national anthem. Brian Wilson and his fellow members wore Dodgers jerseys with No. 50 on the back. ... Scully is in his 63rd season with the Dodgers. ... Chad Billingsley goes for his second win of the young season when he takes the mound for the Dodgers on Wednesday night against Pittsburgh's Erik Bedard.