Major League Baseball wants to expand its brand, and the Dodgers were selected to open the 2014 season this past weekend in Australia against National League West rival Arizona.
The trip was profitable for the Dodgers, who took two games from the Diamondbacks at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground.
Clayton Kershaw’s Opening Day assignment was a 3-1 victory before 38,266 fans as he allowed one run (earned) and five hits over six and two-third innings with seven strikeouts and one walk.
The Dodgers led 1-0 in the top of the second inning when Scott Van Slyke doubled in Adrian Gonzalez. The lead became 3-0 in the fourth on Van Slyke’s homer to right field that plated Gonzalez.
Arizona nicked Kershaw, last season’s Cy Young winner, for a run in the sixth when Paul Goldschmidt (double) scored on former Angel Mark Trumbo’s grounder.
Kenley Jansen earned the save after working one inning while fanning one and walking one, while Brian Wilson toiled a perfect eighth inning.
The Dodgers unloaded 13 hits and claimed the second game, 7-5, as Korean import Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0) gave up no runs with two hits in five innings, whiffing five with one walk.
“Clayton was really good and Hyun-Jin was really good,’’ said Dodgers’ Manager Don Mattingly. “When your pitching is good you always have a chance to win.”
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first on Andre Ethier’s two-out hit which scored Yasiel Puig (single), the advantage swelled to 3-0 in the third when Ryu (single) came around on Puig’s single. Dee Gordon doubled and scored on Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers tacked on two runs in the fifth when Gonzalez scored after Mike Baxter grounded into a bases-loaded double play, and Juan Uribe’s two-base hit brought in Ethier.
Gordon bunted for a single in the sixth and Puig’s double made it 6-0. The Blue Crew’s final run came in the next inning when A.J. Ellis reached on an error, advanced to third on Uribe’s hit, and scored on Gordon’s fly ball.