Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jimmy Rollins made his Dodgers debut one to remember.
Rollins' three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning gave Los Angeles a 6-3 victory over the San Diego Padres in a back-and-forth 2015 season opener at Dodger Stadium.
Highly touted rookie Joc Pederson drew a walk against Shawn Kelley (0-1) to start the eighth and advanced to second two batters later on a Kelley error that allowed Andre Ethier to reach base. Rollins then stepped up and delivered a shot to right, breaking a 3-3 tie.
"I was looking for a pitch to hit in the gap," said Rollins. "It's special to get that first win."
The longtime Phillies shortstop and franchise leader in hits also singled in his first at-bat with his new club in the bottom of the first inning.
Rollins' heroics overshadowed a mediocre start from reigning National League MVP and Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. The lefty struck out nine in six innings, but was reached for three runs on six hits and a pair of walks.
Joel Peralta (1-0) picked up the win after tossing a scoreless eighth, and Chris Hatcher faced the minimum in the ninth to post his first career save.
Former Dodger Matt Kemp, part of San Diego's new-look outfield, did all he could to burn his former team, finishing 2-for-4 with three RBI. Newly acquired catcher Derek Norris had a pair of hits in the loss.
"It was overwhelming to get the love I got," Kemp said. "Clayton is the best pitcher in baseball. I like facing the best, and he's the best."
The top five hitters in San Diego's lineup are all new additions. As is starter James Shields and dynamic closer Craig Kimbrel, who was acquired on Sunday just hours before the start of the season in a six-player swap with Atlanta.
Shields yielded two runs with eight strikeouts over six strong innings in his Padres debut, while Kimbrel, who arrived at the ballpark just prior to the first pitch, was not used.
The Padres got to Kershaw in the top of the first, manufacturing a run when Wil Myers took a pitch in the leg after falling behind 0-2 to lead off the game. After Norris went down swinging, Myers stole second and scored on Kemp's slowly hit single up the middle.
Kemp struck again in the fifth. After the Dodgers plated a pair of runs in the fourth inning, Kemp came up with two outs in the visiting fifth and hit a two- run double.
Adrian Gonzalez was the catalyst for LA for most of the afternoon. His leadoff solo home run in the fourth inning was followed by a Howie Kendrick triple and Carl Crawford RBI double. Trailing by a run in the seventh, Gonzalez doubled with two outs and Kendrick did the same, plating the tying run.
Kimbrel and Melvin Upton were sent to San Diego in exchange for outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin, prospects Matt Wisler and Jordan Paroubeck and the 41st pick in the upcoming MLB entry draft ... Kershaw has never lost in six opening day starts. He had allowed just one earned run in his previous five ... Gonzalez finished 3-for-5 ... Rollins has at least one base-hit in 11 straight opening days.