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Padres rally late, beat Dodgers in U.S. opener

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson lives on the edge.

Sunday night, he walked off it.

"That was so unlike him," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after Wilson gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth to allow the Padres to rally from a 1-0 deficit and defeat the Dodgers 3-1 in San Diego's season opener.

Outfielder Chris Denorfia lined a two-run, tiebreaking single through a drawn-in Dodgers infield after pinch hitter Seth Smith tied the game with a solo homer leading off the eighth against Wilson.

Smith's homer came in his first at-bat as a Padre and marked only the second time in the franchise's 46-year history that a San Diego pinch hitter homered on Opening Day.

"That's as much as you can hope for," Smith said of his home run.

"That's why the Padres got him," Wilson said of Smith. "That's what he does."

Wilson entered the eighth with the Dodgers leading by a run following seven shutout innings from left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu.

After Smith tied the score, Wilson walked pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal. The right-hander then fumbled shortstop Everth Cabrera's sacrifice bunt for an error.

Denorfia lined his decisive single to center after Grandal reached third on a delayed steal and Cabrera took second a pitch later without the Dodgers contesting the play.

"What just happened is more difficult to deal with because Ryu pitched so well," Wilson said. "I was not able to get ahead in the count tonight. I wasn't able to make proper pitches because of that. It was a good piece of hitting by Denorfia on a full-count pitch. And I was behind Smith 2-and-0.

"I wasn't able to get ahead in the count, and they took advantage of it."

Mattingly said, "That was the blueprint for us ... how we win games. If we get seven innings like that from our starter, with our bullpen, we'll win our share. We are comfortable with that lead with our bullpen."

The Padres' opener and the Dodgers' first game on U.S. soil featured a pitchers' duel between Ryu and Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner.

"That was a good, clean game for both sides until we caught a break when Wilson made the error on Cabrera's bunt," Padres manager Bud Black said.

Ryu allowed three hits and three walks while striking out seven.

The Padres threatened in the first two innings against Ryu, getting their first two batters on base in each frame. First baseman Yonder Alonso bounced into a bases-loaded double play to end the first. Cabrera struck out with runners on second and third and two outs in the second.

Ryu retired 16 consecutive Padres after left fielder Tommy Medica and center fielder Will Venable opened the second with back-to-back singles.

The streak ended when Ryu walked Medica on four straight pitches with one out in the seventh. Medica was eliminated on an inning-ending double play.

Left fielder Carl Crawford's two-out, two-strike line single over the head of Padres third baseman Chase Headley in the fifth drove in second baseman Dee Gordon to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

The run snapped a string of 20 scoreless innings pitched by Cashner dating back to last season. Cashner retired the Dodgers in order in three of the first four innings before catcher A.J. Ellis opened the Dodgers' go-ahead rally with a one-out single to left. After Gordon drew a walk, Ryu bunted into a force play at third.

Crawford fouled off two pitches from Cashner after falling behind

0-and-2 in the count. He then lined a 96 mph fastball to left, easily scoring Gordon from second.

Cashner allowed the Dodgers one run on four hits over six innings.

He had five strikeouts and two walks, both of which were issued in the fifth.

"It is something to build off of," Cashner said. "It's definitely nice to get a win. It's such a tough lineup those guys have. You can't make a lot of mistakes."

Right-hander Dale Thayer earned the win by retiring all three batters he faced in the eighth. Closer Huston Street picked up the save with a perfect ninth.

Prior to the game, the Padres honored Hall of Fame broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who died Jan. 5 at the age of 89.

Before joining the Padres broadcast team in 1972, Coleman was a second baseman for the New York Yankees -- he was the MVP of the 1950 World Series -- and a distinguished Marine aviator who was the only major-leaguer to see combat in both World War II and Korea.

The television and radio booths at Petco Park were renamed the "Jerry Coleman Broadcast Center."

NOTES: The game drew a Petco Park record crowd of 45,567. ... Padres LF Carlos Quentin opened the season on the 15-day disabled list with a bone bruise of his left (good) knee. Quentin, who is eligible to rejoin the Padres on April 8 in Cleveland, suffered the injury while making a sliding catch in the outfield March 18 ... Due to injuries, the Padres' Opening Day lineup included two starters -- C Rene Rivera and LF Tommy Medica -- who didn't figure to make the roster at the start of spring training ... Dodgers RHP Josh Beckett (rehabbing from rib surgery) will throw batting practice Monday. He could start Saturday against the Giants ... Dodgers CF Matt Kemp (rehabbing from ankle surgery) will take batting practice Monday. He could come off the disabled list Friday.
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