Padres 8, Dodgers 2

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Brian Lawrence was awful and Phil Nevin idle during spring training.

Both were very good on opening day.

Lawrence allowed one run in five innings and Nevin hit a grand slam Monday as the revamped San Diego Padres beat the Dodgers 8-2, spoiling the start of the Frank McCourt era in Los Angeles.

McCourt, a Boston real estate developer, purchased the Dodgers from News Corp. during the offseason for $430 million.

A sellout crowd of 53,850—the largest opening-day attendance in Dodger Stadium history—booed the home team on several occasions, most vocally after the Padres broke the game open against Hideo Nomo by scoring six runs in the fifth.

Nevin’s homer highlighted the big inning.

“It was a fastball—I missed a couple of them earlier,” Nevin said. “I think this is an indication of what our lineup is capable of.”

The Padres added Brian Giles last August and Jay Payton and Ramon Hernandez during the offseason, giving them a lot more pop than they’ve had in several years.

Nevin was sidelined much of the spring because of a strained left shoulder and had only 16 at-bats during the exhibition season. He also sat out the first three months last year after undergoing surgery on the same shoulder.

“It’s no fun being hurt and watching your teammates play,” he said. “I’m not in any pain now—it’s more timing-wise.”

Teammate Mark Loretta said Nevin was frustrated after his first two at-bats against Nomo.

“He said, `If I get another fastball, I’m not going to miss it.’ He didn’t,” Loretta said.

Lawrence, who had an 11.14 ERA in spring training, scattered eight hits while walking two and striking out three. The Dodgers had six hits and two walks in the first three innings but failed to score, stranding seven.

“In the back of your mind, you’re wondering if it’s going to continue,” Lawrence said. “I feel good. I was confident I could continue to do the things I did last year. I wasn’t that worried about it.”

The Dodgers lost despite outhitting the Padres 15-12. But they left 15 runners on base and hit into three double plays.

“Fifteen hits is a lot of hits to get and only score two runs,” manager Jim Tracy said. “We had a number of opportunities to score runs today, and that’s the encouraging part. We had guys on base all day long.”

Lawrence, who entered with a career batting average of .154, also had a double and a single and scored twice.

Lawrence started the fifth-inning rally with a one-out single. Sean Burroughs was hit by a pitch and Brian Giles drew a two-out walk before Nevin hit a 1-1 pitch into the lower left-field seats.

Ryan Klesko walked and Payton, playing his first game with the Padres, hit Nomo’s first pitch in the same vicinity where Nevin’s homer landed to make it 7-0.

The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the third when Lawrence doubled and scored on Loretta’s one-out single.

“It’s a fun thing to go up there and swing the bat,” Lawrence said. “I snuck two in there today.”

Shawn Green, moved to first base from the outfield to make room for new acquisition Milton Bradley, hit a 2-0 pitch into the right-center field pavilion in the fifth for the Dodgers’ first run.

Bradley, acquired Sunday from Cleveland, singled in his first two at-bats and finished 2-for-3 with two walks.

Cesar Izturis hit a two-out RBI single off Ismael Valdez in the sixth and the Dodgers loaded the bases before Eddie Oropesa retired Green on a bloop to short.

Burroughs hit an RBI single off Wilson Alvarez in the eighth to complete the scoring.

Nomo, who had an 8.13 ERA in spring training, allowed seven hits and sevenearned runs in five innings.


Juan Encarnacion, obtained by Los Angeles from the defending World Series champion Florida Marlins in December, doubled in his first two at-bats and had three hits. … Green failed to hit a homer in spring training. … The Padres placed INF Jeff Cirillo on the 15-day disabled list, replacing him by adding non-roster LHP Oropesa. … Dodgers RHP Eric Gagne was presented with his NL Cy Young Award before the game by Don Newcombe, who won the first such award in 1956. Gagne saved 55 games in 55 chances last year and enters this season with 63 straight saves—a big league record. … The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by former Dodgers who won the Cy Young Award—Newcombe, Mike Marshall, Fernando Valenzuela and D.J. Drysdale, representing his father, the late Don Drysdale. Sandy Koufax and Orel Hershiser, other Dodgers to win theaward, weren’t present.

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