Dodgers down D-Backs in Sydney season-opener

Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:42am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw started the payback on his $200 million contract when he helped the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opening game of the 2014 major league season in Australia on Saturday.

The Dodgers have invested heavily in a big-budget roster in an attempt to end 26 years without a trip to the World Series and got off to a great start under the lights at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

After taking the lead in the second innings on an Andre Ethier RBI, the Dodgers moved ahead 3-0 in the fourth when outfielder Scott Van Slyke delighted the 38,266 crowd with a two-run homer.

"We've come a long way to get (a win)," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters.

"I don't know if there's a whole lot of meaning in it ... but we can't win them all if we don't win the first one."

Double Cy Young winner Kershaw, who signed the richest contract ever for a pitcher in January worth $30 million a season, allowed five hits and struck out seven batters in 6 2/3rd innings for the win.

"It's always good to get a result," said the 26-year-old, who had failed to get a win in spring training.

"Sometimes you need the adrenaline of a regular season game and I'm kind of relieved to get this one under my belt."   Continued...

Los Angeles Dodgers batter Van Slyke (C) celebrates with team mates as he crosses home-plate after hitting a home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the top of the fourth innings of the opening game of the 2014 Major League Baseball season at the Sydney Cricket Ground March 22, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray