LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kiké Hernández homered and drove in five runs as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the rival San Francisco Giants 8-1 in a fan-less ballpark as baseball’s shortened season opened on Thursday night.
Mookie Betts, who took a knee during the national anthem, went 1 for 5 in his Dodgers debut. Betts struck out swinging in his first at-bat a day after signing a $365 million deal over 12 years.
Justin Turner grounded into a fielder’s choice and Betts beat a throw to the plate to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the seventh. The Giants lost their appeal of the call after Betts slid head-first.
Betts struck out with the bases loaded to end a five-run inning that made it 6-1.
Adam Kolarek (1-0) got the victory with 1 2/3 innings of relief.
Dustin May became the first Dodgers rookie to start on opening day since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 when Clayton Kershaw couldn’t go because of a back issue. It was similar to when Valenzuela was a late replacement for the injured Jerry Reuss back then.
May allowed seven hits and one run in 4 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-6 right-hander struck out four and walked none.
May was originally not on the 30-man roster and the 22-year-old found himself pressed into duty after Kershaw’s back stiffened during a weight room workout on Tuesday.
Pablo Sandoval’s sacrifice fly scored San Francisco’s lone run. Tyler Rogers (0-1) took the loss.
The sounds of the game were amplified with only cardboard cutouts of fans in areas of the stands.
The crack of the bat on a sharply hit ball. The DJ’s music echoing. Foul balls clunking loudly upon landing in the seats. The home plate umpire’s third-strike calls easily heard. Teammates yelled reminders to Dodgers left fielder Joc Pederson about which base to throw to after he snagged a fly ball in the second.
Johnny Cueto started for the Giants, allowing one run and five hits over four innings. He struck out three and walked one.
The Giants and Dodgers held a black ribbon that wound along the baselines in a show of unity after pregame introductions. Anthem singer Keith Williams Jr. stood in the new center field seating to perform instead of the usual spot near home plate. Betts and some of the Giants kneeled during the performance. In a video, 98-year-old Rachel Robinson, whose husband, Jackie, broke the major league color barrier in 1947, gave the traditional call of “It’s time for Dodger baseball!”
Alyssa Nakken of the Giants plans to donate her jersey from the opener, when she became the first female to coach in a major league regular-season game, to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “It should make for a nice addition to our collection!” HOF president Tim Mead said in a text message.
LOTS OF BRUISES
Turner got hit by a pitch in the second inning for the 73rd time in his Dodgers career. That tied him with Zack Wheat for most in franchise history. Wheat played for Brooklyn from 1909-26.
WHAT A CUTOUT
Dodgers scout Mike Brito has his own cutout behind home plate. The 85-year-old, who discovered Valenzuela, is wearing his traditional Panama hat, chomping a cigar and holding a radar gun. He’s positioned in the aisle with former “Entertainment Tonight” host Mary Hart in her seat next to him.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt and 3B Evan Longoria are starting the season on the injured list.
Dodgers: Joining Kershaw on the IL are C Keibert Ruiz and RHP Scott Alexander.
The Giants had yet to announce a starter for Friday night. RHP Ross Stripling goes for the Dodgers, replacing David Price in the rotation after Price opted out of the season. He was 2-3 with a 3.60 ERA as a starter last year.
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