MLB Wrap: Kershaw homers, hurls shutout

MLB Wrap: Kershaw homers, hurls shutout
April 1, 2013, 11:15 pm
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LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw launched his first career home run to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning, then finished off a four-hitter Monday that led the Los Angeles Dodgers over the San Francisco Giants 4-0 on opening day.

Kershaw struck out seven, walked none and retired World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval on a grounder to end it.

The former Cy Young winner began the day as a career .146 batter with only one extra-base hit in 261 at-bats. But he sent the first pitch from George Kontos (0-1) over the center-field wall, triggering a standing ovation and prolonged roar from the sellout crowd of 53,000.

Kershaw became the first pitcher in the majors to homer on opening day since Joe Magrane of St. Louis in 1988, and the first Dodgers pitcher to do it since Don Drysdale in 1965 (see full recap).

Harper's HRs lead Nats past Marlins
WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper homered in his first two at-bats, Stephen Strasburg retired 19 batters in a row at one stretch, and the defending NL East champion Washington Nationals opened the season with a 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins on Monday.

For Strasburg (1-0), this marked the start of what should be his first full season in the majors, with zero pitch or inning limits. The All-Star ace was dominant against a trade-depleted Marlins lineup that features Giancarlo Stanton and little else.

The right-hander went seven innings, matching his career high, and allowed three hits.

Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Harper, a 20-year-old outfielder, hit solo shots over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field off Ricky Nolasco (0-1) in the first and fourth innings.

New closer Rafael Soriano got the save (see full recap).

Mets score 11 runs in rout of Padres
NEW YORK -- Jonathon Niese stepped nicely into his new role as No. 1 starter for the Mets, and Collin Cowgill capped a successful New York debut with a grand slam in an 11-2 rout of the San Diego Padres on Monday.

Handed the opening day assignment in place of injured Johan Santana, Niese enjoyed a big afternoon with both his arm and bat. He breezed into the seventh inning against a Padres lineup missing slugger Chase Headley (broken thumb) and catcher Yasmani Grandal, suspended for the first 50 games after testing positive for testosterone.

Marlon Byrd had a pair of RBI singles and fellow Mets newcomer John Buck was in the middle of three rallies as New York improved baseball's best opening day record to 34-18 despite dropping its first eight openers (see full recap).

Victorino helps Red Sox win opener
NEW YORK -- Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox got off to a quick start after a dreadful 2012 season, giving new manager John Farrell an 8-2 win over the barely recognizable New York Yankees on opening day Monday.

Newcomer Shane Victorino led a revamped Red Sox lineup with three RBIs and rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. walked three times and scored twice in his big league debut. Boston's big day against CC Sabathia (0-1) came a year after it lost its first three games under Bobby Valentine and went on to a 69-93 finish.

Facing a Yankees lineup minus injured Derek Jeter for the first time since 2001 and just three starters from opening day a year ago, Lester (1-0) gave up five hits and two runs in five sharp innings against the defending AL East champions (see full recap).

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