Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
SAN DIEGO (CBSLA.com) — As baseball fans, many of whom who did not travel 7,500 miles to see the Dodgers rack-up an early 2-0 record “down under”, got a look at a familiar LA lineup, those watching the first Dodger game on U.S. soil in 2014 from home noticed a bit of a difference.
The sun was shining, the cool breeze of early Spring was gently blowing, and the American Bunting flags signified the reassuring arrival of Opening Night at Petco Park, but something big was missing; something big — Vin Scully.
Since the Dodgers’ third ball game of the season was featured on ESPN, rather than on the club’s new Time Warner SportsNet channel, the Hall of Fame broadcaster’s legendary voice was noticeably absent.
Ultimately, an absolute gem by Ryu was wasted as the San Diego Padres jumped on Brian Wilson in the 8th inning to beat the Dodgers 3-1 on Sunday night.
Second-year hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu found himself in trouble in the bottom of the first, after Everth Cabrera walked, Chris Denorfia singled to right, and Jedd Gyorko also walked.
With one out and the bases loaded, Ryu collected himself, and responded by getting Yonder Alonso to swing at a breaking ball, and gloving a come-backer up the middle. In control, Ryu fired home to catcher A.J. Ellis, who then retired Alonso with a throw to Adrian Gonzalez at first.
The 1-2-3 double play got the Dodgers out of their first stateside jam of 2014.
A jam of a more personal, statistical nature was also alleviated when, after four innings of defensively weighing each other, Carl Crawford recovered from two strikeouts to knock a single to left in the top of the fifth with two outs.
Dee Gordon rounded third and scored easily, and Carl Crawford’s first hit of 2014 was an RBI single to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
Ryu, meanwhile, was exceptional throughout the remainder of his time on the mound, retiring 16 Padres in a row until issuing a walk to Tommy Medica in the bottom of the 7th inning. That inning later came to an end after Ryu got Will Venable to ground into a 3-6-3 double play.
Through his seven innings of work, Ryu, who in February told reporters he had no worries about a hypothetical “sophomore slump”, struck out seven, walked three and gave up three hits with no runs.
The blessing did not linger for the next Dodger on the mound.
Brian Wilson, who became instrumental in 2013’s post-season push, gave up a solo home run to pinch-hitter Seth Smith, tying the ball game at one run apiece. It was Smith’s first hit against Wilson in his career, and the “Beat LA’ chants began rising out of nowhere at Petco Park.
The homer was followed up with a walk to another pinch-hitter, Yasmani Grandal, and Wilson’s error on a routine grounder by Cabrera allowed runners on first and second without recording an out.
Matters escalated for the Dodgers when Grandal, representing the Go-Ahead run, stole third, with the following runner taking second.
The damage came to a head when Wilson allowed a 2-RBI single up the middle to Denorfia, giving the Padres a 3-1 lead.
After five batters faced, Wilson was unable to retire any of them, and was relieved by former Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez after Headley reached on an error by Adrian Gonzalez.
The defending NL West Champs take their first loss of the season, and will send Zach Greinke to the mound to take on Ian Kennedy on Tuesday.