Dodgers hold off D-backs for Sydney sweep

Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:31am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Dodgers rode strong early offense and saw off a late rally from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a 7-5 win to sweep the major league season-opening series at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.

The Dodgers won the opening day clash 3-1 on Saturday night on the back of Clayton Kershaw's pitching and the hitters looked like they had finished the job when they gave the National League West champions a 7-0 lead in the seventh inning.

The D-Backs rallied late on in the four-hour contest, however, and scored five runs in the last two innings, including a blockbuster two-run homer from Mark Trumbo in the ninth, to leave Dodgers manager Don Mattingly furious at his bullpen.

"The first (game) I really enjoyed, this one not quite as much," he told reporters.

"It was kind of a frustrating one, we walked seven guys in the last four innings, we gave them a chance to get back into the game.

"We talked about this last year a lot, you don't play like this and win, you may win and get to the playoffs but you don't 'win' like this. This ends up getting us in trouble."

South Korean lefthander Ryu Hyun-jin took the win after giving up just two hits in five innings, illustrating that the big-budget Dodgers will not be entirely reliant on the pitching of $30 million-a-season Kershaw this year.

An RBI from centerfielder Andre Ethier opened the scoring for the second day in a row in a front of an enthusiastic crowd of 38,079, his single allowing Yasiel Puig to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the first inning.   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