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Scott Van Slyke hits first homer of season as Dodgers win Australian opener 3-1

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks kicked off the 2014 season early Saturday morning at the famed Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.

The historic first regular season game played Down Under didn't feature a whole lot of offense, with the Dodgers holding on for a 3-1 victory. But that's to be expected with two-time NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw starting for Los Angeles and 2012 all-star/Rookie of the Year runner-up Wade Miley starting for Arizona. It did, however, feature the first home run of the season, among many other firsts, which is also predictable given that everyone else has a full week of spring training action left before their season kicks off.

With that in mind, it wasn't one of the players you might expect who delivered the noteworthy home run. It wasn't Yasiel Puig, which would have caused the internet to explode, or Paul Goldschmidt. It was a player who's playing time this weekend is greatly influenced by the absences of Dodgers outfielders Matt Kemp (DL) and Carl Crawford (paternity leave), but who's name has notable baseball lineage.

If that didn't give it away, perhaps you'd know him best as the guy who won the bizarre pre-game standoff before Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS: Scott Van Slyke.

Van Slyke's two-run fourth inning blast off Miley tucked just inside right field foul pole, extending the Dodgers lead to 3-0 at that point. That's akin to making a 5-0 lead a 10-0 lead with Kershaw on the mound. Van Slyke also nearly homered in his first at-bat, but settled for the first double of the season when his second inning fly ball confused left fielder Mark Trumbo and bounced off the wall. That led to Adrian Gonzalez scoring the first run on an Andre Ethier ground out. Van Slyke added a walk in the eighth, so his opening day contributions were significant.

Arizona's Aaron Hill delivered the first hit, a one-out single in the bottom of the first.

Other quick notes:

• Yasiel Puig started the game with a strikeout and finished 0 for 5 with three strikeouts overall.

• Brian Wilson pitched a perfect eighth inning of relief for Los Angeles.

• Somewhat surprisingly, that isn't actually true. But the wave absolutely made an appearance in Sydney.

The two teams will meet up again later on Saturday with a 10:00 p.m. ET starting time in the United States.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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