After a slow start at the plate this season, the Los Angeles Dodgers are getting into the swing of things.
Cody Bellinger hit the Dodgers’ first home run of the year and Rich Hill threw six spotless innings to lead Los Angeles to a 9-0 victory Sunday and a series split with the rival San Francisco Giants.
All four games in the season-opening set were shutouts.
Yasiel Puig had an RBI double and two singles for the defending NL champions. Enrique Hernandez added two of their 13 hits, including a two-run double.
“That was more what we did last year. It was just a matter of time.”
Hill (1-0) allowed five hits and walked three, striking out five.
Chris Stratton (0-1) was charged with three runs in 5 1/3 innings for the slumping Giants, who became the first major league team since the 1988 Baltimore Orioles to total no more than two runs in the first four games of a season.
It’s the first time the Giants have failed to score more than one run in each of their first four games.
“If you’d told me we’d only score two runs and get a split in this series, I’d have been elated.”
- San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy
After losing the first two games 1-0, the Dodgers turned the tables with two shutouts of their own and scored a combined 14 runs. They won 5-0 on Saturday, but managed only four hits.
Los Angeles became the first team in major league history to hold an opponent to two runs or fewer in a season-opening, four-game series. Dodgers starting pitchers allowed one earned run in 25 innings.
The club also received a spark from Puig — with his bat and glove, as well as on the bases.
“There’s a lot of unpredictability with him. There’s a lot of energy and the fans feed off it. He really impacted the game. It is something no one else really has, that presence about them.”
- Dave Roberts
The two-run homer by Bellinger, last season’s NL Rookie of the Year, ended an 0-for-11 start to his season.
“It’s all coming together. It’s a long season, but it’s great to see.”
Veteran slugger Evan Longoria, the Giants’ new third baseman, is off to a rough start. He’s hitless in his first 15 at-bats.
“I’m getting some good pitches to hit, I’m just missing them. Those things happen. They’re just a little magnified right now. The opening series against the Dodgers on the road, a lot of people looking for me to come out of the gate hot — including myself . Obviously I’m not happy with the way that went, but it is what it is. We go back home and start over.”
Even when Puig made a mistake Sunday as he did in the fourth inning, attempting to tag up and advance to second on Bellinger’s flyout to left, it worked out.
Puig got caught in a rundown and Corey Seager was able to score the game’s first run from third when Puig beat the throw back to first.
“Thanks for being an idiot. That was a good time to be an idiot. It’s all jokes with him, so it’s pretty cool.”
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (strained pectoral) is scheduled to throw bullpen sessions Tuesday and Friday in preparation for a rehab assignment. ... There is still no schedule for the return of closer Mark Melancon (elbow strain).
Dodgers: Logan Forsythe was expected to be the team’s primary third baseman while Justin Turner is on the disabled list, but Kyle Farmer has started at third the past two games. Although a shortstop at the University of Georgia, he has been a catcher in the minors for the Dodgers.
Giants: Off on Monday before sending out Ty Blach (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to start Tuesday’s home opener against Seattle.
Dodgers: Open their first road trip of the season Monday at NL West rival Arizona with LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu making his first start this season.