SAN DIEGO (AP) With Magic Johnson and Frank McCourt watching from next to the dugout, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 Thursday even though reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw left after three innings with the flu.
Former Lakers great Johnson, part of a group buying the Dodgers for $2.15 billion from McCourt, had a big smile after Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer in the eighth, giving him three RBIs. Johnson and McCourt sat next to each other and chatted throughout the game.
Kershaw left after limiting the Padres to two hits through three innings. He struck out three, walked one and singled off newcomer Edinson Volquez in the third for the Dodgers’ first hit of the season.
Josh Lindblom (1-0) pitched two perfect innings in relief of Kershaw. Javy Guerra pitched the ninth for the save.
It was a poor start for the Padres. Volquez walked in L.A’s first two runs in the fourth inning and the Padres committed three errors, two of which led to the Dodgers’ third run.
Volquez (0-1), Cincinnati’s opening-day starter a year ago, struck out five through three scoreless innings and singled off Kershaw in the third for the Padres’ first hit.
He then allowed two runs on four walks, including three in a row, and two singles in the fourth. Volquez loaded the bases with one out before walking James Loney. Andre Ethier was called out trying to score on a wild pitch, but replays showed he touched the plate just before Volquez tagged him. Volquez again loaded the bases, then walked A.J. Ellis.
A half-inning earlier, the Padres loaded the bases with two outs against Kershaw before Chase Headley took a called third strike.
Volquez went five, allowing three runs, two earned, and three hits. He struck out seven and walked four.
Dee Gordon led off the Dodgers’ fifth with a fly ball to center that glanced off Cameron Maybin’s glove for a three-base error. With one out, Gordon scored when shortstop Jason Bartlett booted Kemp’s grounder.
Kemp hit a drive to right off Brad Brach in the eighth, making it 5-1. Brach was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A.
San Diego’s Jesus Guzman hit an RBI double off Mike MacDougal in the sixth and Maybin had a two-run homer to left off Kenley Jansen in the eighth that was estimated at 445 feet.
NOTES: The Padres placed RHP Tim Stauffer on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Wednesday, with a strained pitching elbow. Stauffer had been expected to start the season opener before he experienced soreness in his arm. To take Stauffer’s roster spot, Brach was recalled from Tucson. … The four-game series continues Friday night, when the scheduled starters are Chad Billingsley for the Dodgers and Cory Luebke for the Padres. … Jerry Coleman, celebrating his 70th year in baseball and his 40th with the Padres, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The longtime broadcaster played second base for the New York Yankees for nine seasons and managed the Padres in 1980.