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Padres Opening Day Ends In 6-3 Loss To Dodgers

A disappointing start to what Padres fans hope to be a far from disappointing season.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It finally happened. After an epic offseason of rebuilding the major league roster, the Padres finally got on the field an played a game. They matched up their new ace James Shields with Dodgers ace and 2011 SB Nation Cy Young Award Co-Winner Clayton Kershaw. The first opportunity for the upstart Padres to take the field against the near unanimous favorites in the NL West. The initial taste of what hoped to be a series of hard fought contests between the two foes.

The excitement started early in this one, as it would in an Opening Day game with the defending NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner on the mound. Kershaw hit leadoff batter Wil Myers, who would later steal second base. The new CF didn't get the best jump, but the pitch was high and the throw to second base was off. Then, the most anticipated matchup of the game paid off climactically. When Matt Kemp was announced as the batter for the Padres, facing his old team, a smattering of groans and boos were heard, but were ultimately drowned out by LA fans appreciative of his 10 years of service. This was their chance to say thank you since when a player is traded in the offseason, the fans don't get a chance to say goodbye in person. Kemp would hit the ball to the opposite field with a soft grounder that beat an infield shifted to his pull side. As the ball dribbled into the outfield, Wil Myers would score the first run of the season as he raced from second to home. 1-0 Padres.

The next few innings went by scoreless, but a couple things worth noting. James Shields struck out a batter an inning through the first 3. Derek Norris got hit in the arm with a broken bat in the 2nd inning, but stayed in the game and laced a two out double the next inning. He was stranded there when Matt Kemp grounded out. The Padres did some stranding of their own when Jimmy Rollins walked and stole a base with two outs. James Shields got Yasiel Puig to ground out to SS to end the 3rd. But, that wasn't the end of the strand-jobs. In the 4th, Jedd Gyorko inside-outed a ball for another Padres 2 out double. He progressed no farther when Yonder Alonso was whiffed by same-sided southpaw Kershaw.

The bottom of the 4th inning would resume the scoring part of this affair. Ex-Padre Adrian Gonzalez would give Shields the first blemish on his Padres ERA. He led off the inning with a pulled solo shot to left field. Still with no out, Howie Kendrick would follow that up with a high, hard hit ball to CF that Myers lost in the sun and resulted in a triple. He would score when the next batter, Carl Crawford, looped a double to RF. A hard hit grounder by Yasiel Puig that Jedd Gyorko stabbed and shuttled to first got the first out, but moved the runner to third. Still in damage control mode, Shields got rookie Joc Pederson to pop out to short, intentionally walked 8th hitter A.J. Ellis and blew a 3rd strike by Kershaw to end the threat. 2-1 Dodgers.

The Padres would not be intimidated though by the Dodgers offense finally asserting itself. Clint Barmes got the start at SS most likely to provide another righty bat in lieu of Alexi Amarista's lefty swing. Barmes would pay off that play with a leadoff double. After Shields and Myers both failed to move the runner, Derek Norris would hit a grounder to third that forced a long(ish) throw from Juan Uribe. The catcher legged out a single on that batted ball to force another Kershaw-Kemp faceoff with a runner in scoring position. Kemp would come through again. A laced double to left field scored not only Barmes, but Norris all the way from first base. The Friars were back in front 3-2. Game on.

The next couple of innings were a battle for James Shields. In the 5th inning, with one out, he hit Puig and gave up a single to Gonzalez. A diving stop by Yonder Alonso on a Howie Kendrick ground ball got the second out with a force second base, which Shields followed up with a Crawford strikeout. In the 6th, a one double by Pederson turned into a one-out-runner-at-third situation after the rookie pilfered third base. Fiery competitor that he is, Shields halted the peril with punch outs of Ellis and pinch hitter Justin Turner.

Bud Black called for a pinch hitter in the top of the 7th when Shields' spot came up to start the inning. The Padres would go scoreless that inning and bring in Nick Vincent to be the first man out of the bullpen this season. After retiring the first two, the wheels came off for Nick. Back-to-back doubles by Gonzalez and Kendrick tied the game at 3 and reliever got the hook. Southpaw Frank Garces was the second guy out of the 'pen, brought in to face lefty Crawford, had to intentionally walk pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke before also giving up the ball to the manager. Shawn Kelley would have to make his Padres debut and get them out of trouble. He did that with one pitch as Juan Uribe grounded out to second, but his day wasn't done.

The Padres left in the ex-Yankee-reliever for the 8th inning too after another scoreless turn at bat for their hitters. A walk to start the inning was a bad sign. The Padres seem to have a shot to get out of the inning, but some hazardous play by Kelley and Alonso kept the Dodgers alive. The pitcher and 1B first collided trying to catch a pop up bunt. Then a weak grounder by pinch hitter Andre Ethier looked to set up a double play, but Alonso boxed the ball trying to field it and Kelley missed touching the bag after receiving the toss. A Jimmy Rollins 3 run bomb would put the Dodgers ahead for good.

Shields battled his tail off in this one and Kemp some magic to twice give the Padres a lead. But, the bullpen let the team down with co-closers Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel never called upon to protect the lead. And so the San Diego club fell to their Los Angeles rivals 6-3.

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