San Diego, CA – Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw pitched just three innings because of the flu, but the Los Angeles Dodgers still opened the season with a 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres on Thursday.
Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer and knocked in three for the Dodgers while five pitchers combined with Kershaw on a five-hitter. Josh Lindblom (1-0) threw two perfect innings for the win and Javy Guerra tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Edinson Volquez (0-1) took the loss in his regular season debut for the Padres after giving up three runs -- two earned -- on three hits in five innings, and Cameron Maybin hit a two-run homer.
The NL West rivals are opening the season with a four-game series.
Kershaw gutted out his start, striking out three batters and giving up just two hits and a walk in three scoreless frames.
The 24-year-old lefty, fresh off winning the NL pitching triple crown in a star-making season, was a bright spot last year for the Dodgers as they endured financial and front office turmoil on the way to an 82-79 record and third-place finish in the division.
Better news came recently when the Dodgers announced they were being sold for $2.15 billion to a group including former Lakers star Magic Johnson, who was on hand Thursday.
Kershaw threw 25 of his 39 pitches for strikes and also had the first hit of the game, a single in the third inning after both teams were retired in order in the first two.
Volquez and Maybin hit two-out singles for the Padres in the bottom of the third and Chris Denorfia walked to load the bases, but Chase Headley was called out on strikes to end the threat.
The Dodgers then took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth on bases-loaded walks to James Loney and A.J. Ellis. In between, Andre Ethier was thrown out at home trying to score on a pitch that got past Padres catcher Nick Hundley and rolled to the backstop. Volquez tagged Ethier before the his left hand scraped the plate.
Two errors -- the Padres had three in the game -- led to a 3-0 Dodgers lead in the fifth.
Dee Gordon made it all the way to third on Maybin's drop in center field and scored when Kemp's grounder hit off the heel of Jason Bartlett's glove as he attempted to backhand it at short.
Jesus Guzman scored Will Venable from third on a double to the wall in left- center to get the Padres on the board in the sixth, but Kemp homered onto the padding atop the right field scoreboard in the eighth to make it 5-1.
Maybin homered to left in the eighth off Kenley Jansen.
Kershaw was the eighth Dodger to win the Cy Young Award after going 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts...The Padres went 71-91 last season and finished last in the division...Volquez was acquired in a five-player trade which sent Mat Latos to Cincinnati.