Kuroda outpitched the Padres’ ace, leading the defending NL West champions to a 4-1 victory Monday without a hit from Manny Ramirez.
The enigmatic slugger went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run on his first opening day with the Dodgers. Matt Kemp drove a 418-foot homer to straightaway center field off Peavy, and James Loney had three hits, including a two-run single.
“I knew that their pitcher was going to be their ace, Peavy, so I wanted to allow the least runs possible and I’m very glad that it turned out this way,” Kuroda said through a translator.
The loss broke Peavy’s 11-game winning streak against the Dodgers. He hadn’t lost to his team’s biggest rival since Sept. 13, 2003, during his first full big league season.
“That’s as good of a lineup that you’ll face—a little bit of everything,” said Peavy, who is 13-2 lifetime against the Dodgers. “That’s a team to be reckoned with.”
The crowd of 45,496 was the largest in Petco Park’s six-year history.
Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said he figured Kuroda could handle the pressure of an opening-day start based on his two big wins in the postseason, against the Chicago Cubs in the division series and the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL championship series.
The right-hander came through, holding San Diego to four hits in 5 2-3 innings.
“It was great,” Torre said. “Then you go out there and you score a couple runs in the first inning off Jake, that’s not easy to do. He shut us down completely last year. You just feel when you score runs off him, that you have to win. It’s not like you should win, but you have to win because you certainly don’t do it that often.”
Kuroda (1-0) gave up a run in the first inning, then allowed only one baserunner over the next four. The Padres finally chased him in the sixth after he allowed singles by David Eckstein and Brian Giles and walked Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases with two outs. Cory Wade came on and got Kevin Kouzmanoff to hit a weak grounder to the right side of the mound.
Jonathan Broxton, who threw a handful of 99 mph fastballs, pitched the ninth for the save.
Peavy (0-1), who was on the trade market for much of the offseason, allowed four runs—three earned—and seven hits in seven innings while striking out eight and walking two.
“I just have to be better,” Peavy said. “I wasn’t extremely disappointed with the way I threw the ball. I did the best I could today. It just wasn’t good enough.”
He opened the game by giving up two singles on his first five pitches, to Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson. That brought up Ramirez with runners on first and second and no outs, but Peavy got him to fly out to center. Andre Ethier flied out before Peavy walked Russell Martin and allowed Loney’s two-run single.
Kemp homered leading off the seventh.
“I guess you could say we’ve only beat him one time. I guess we got kind of tired of people saying that he owns us,” Kemp said about Peavy. “We came out swinging the bat today off the top, the first inning.”
San Diego got one run back in the first when Jody Gerut hit a leadoff double, advanced on Eckstein’s sacrifice and scored on Brian Giles’ chopper over Kuroda’s head to second base for the second out.
Ramirez scored with two outs in the third to make it 3-1. He walked, advanced on Peavy’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt and came around on Ethier’s single up the middle.
“I did get better as the game went on,” Peavy said. I didn’t have great stuff. I had to mix and match.”
Once again, he didn’t get enough run support.
“Today’s game was nothing new to me,” Peavy said. “It’s always been this way. I’m not knocking any hitters that we’ve had in the past or our hitters now. We’re just going to play low-scoring ballgames. That’s the makeup of our teams here.”
Said manager Bud Black: “He threw well enough to get a ‘W’ if things went our way.”
Former Padres greats Tony Gwynn, Randy Jones, Dave Winfield and Ollie Brown simultaneously threw out ceremonial first pitches as part of pregame ceremonies celebrating the Padres’ 40th anniversary. … Padres OF Cliff Floyd was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right shoulder, retroactive to Sunday. OF Drew Macias was recalled from Triple-A Portland to fill Floyd’s roster spot. … The Dodgers finalized their roster when they purchased the contracts of RHP Ronald Belisario, INF Doug Mientkiewicz and LHP Will Ohman from Triple-A Las Vegas. … The previous largest crowd at Petco Park was 45,389 on Sept. 30, 2004.