The Dodgers have won seven of their first nine games. It’s their best start since 1983, when they opened 7-2 and won a division title. They haven’t started a season better than this since 1981, when they were 8-1 after nine games and went on to win the World Series.
Pitching for the first time since his trip to Boston to pick up his World Series ring, Lowe (1-1) recorded his second shutout and third complete game in 123 career starts. With his pricey piece of jewelry resting on the top shelf of his locker, the right-hander struck out five and walked one in a game that took just 2 hours, 8 minutes.
Lowe, who signed a $24 million, three-year contract with the Dodgers in January, showed no effects of Craig Counsell’s line drive that hit him just above his pitching elbow and forced him out of Sunday’s outing at Arizona in the fifth inning.
It was quite a night for Bradley, who celebrated his 27th birthday by escorting Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel, to home plate for a pregame ceremony commemorating the 58th anniversary of her husband’s first major league game and the breaking of baseball’s color barrier.
Wearing jerseys that read “Brooklyn” in honor of Robinson and the Dodgers’ 1955 World Series championship team, the defending NL West champs built a 3-0 lead through three innings.
Lowe opened the scoring in the second with a line-drive single off the glove of first baseman Phil Nevin, scoring Bradley from second. Kent got the green light on a 3-0 pitch with two outs in the third and tucked it inside the left-field pole for his third homer. Bradley then drove a 1-1 pitch to center for his first of the season.
Williams allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out five and walking three. The right-hander, facing the Dodgers for the first time since winning Game 1 of last year’s NL division series for the St. Louis Cardinals, entered with a career record of 4-1 at Dodger Stadium.
Bradley led off the sixth with a single and scored the fourth run on a bases-loaded grounder by Lowe.
Lowe won the clinching game for the Red Sox in all three of their postseason series last year. Williams started Game 1 in all three series for the NL champion Cardinals. … Only three players in the Dodgers’ starting lineup wore numbers also worn by players on Brooklyn’s 1955 roster. Lowe wore Don Zimmer’s No. 23, Kent had Frank Kellert’s No. 12, and Jose Valentin had Rube Walker’s No. 10. … Dodgers RF J.D. Drew has no RBIs this season in 35 at-bats after driving in a career-high 93 runs last year for Atlanta.