Dodgers’ offense hot on chilly night in 8-2 win over D-backs
LOS ANGELES - Will Smith went 3 for 5 and drove in three runs, James Outman homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-2 on March 30 in their season opener.
Julio Urías (1-0), last year’s NL ERA leader at 2.16, got the victory in his first career opening-day start. The left-hander allowed four hits and two runs in six innings. He struck out six.
"It was an unforgettable experience," Urías said through a translator. "It was really special to me."
All three of Smith’s hits went to right field in a game that lasted 2 hours, 35 minutes under new rules this season designed to speed things up.
The game-time temperature was 55 degrees — 15 degrees lower than Los Angeles’ average of 70 in March. Batting practice was rained out and the tarp covered the infield. But the clouds cleared before first pitch, revealing rare snow atop the San Gabriel Mountains that frame the outfield.
The Dodgers won a franchise-record 111 games last season only to lose to the rival San Diego Padres in their National League Division Series. They bid farewell to Trea Turner, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger in the offseason, helping make the roster a bit younger.
Los Angeles, March 30: Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third inning of a Opening Day baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 30, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
Outman is part of that youth movement, having made the opening-day roster off a strong spring showing. The 25-year-old center fielder hammered a two-run shot to left-center in the sixth, extending the lead to 7-2.
"I don’t think any moment is going to be too big for him," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He’s just got a quiet confidence."
Outman went 2 for 3 with three runs, a walk and a strikeout in his first career game at Dodger Stadium.
"It was really fun to get the season going with a win," said Outman, admitting to having some nerves early. "I couldn’t stay still when they were doing all the name announcements."
Mookie Betts made the defensive play of the game in the sixth. Ketel Marte singled to right, Betts picked up the ball barehanded and in one motion made a two-hop throw to get Marte stretching at second.
The Dodgers broke open a 2-all game in the fifth. Smith had an RBI single, J.D. Martinez’s RBI single chased Zac Gallen, and David Peralta singled off Cole Sulser to give Los Angeles a 5-2 lead.
Gallen (0-1) gave up six hits and five runs in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
Arizona led 2-0 on Christian Walker’s RBI single in the first and Gabriel Moreno’s sacrifice fly in the second.
Dodgers RHP Ryan Pepiot (oblique strain) went on the injured list. Michael Grove will start in his place Monday.
Under baseball’s new rules, the Diamondbacks were called for a pitch-timer violation in the eighth. Arizona reliever Kevin Ginkel went into the stretch before Smith got into the batter’s box, so plate umpire Marvin Hudson called a ball.
The Dodgers had three Cy Young Award winners toss out ceremonial first pitches: Orel Hershiser, Éric Gagné and Fernando Valenzuela. Their catchers were Roberts and former backstops Rick Dempsey and Mike Scioscia. Watching from the owner’s box was 87-year-old Sandy Koufax, a three-time Cy Young Award winner.
Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy struck out all five times up.
TOASTING A NEW SEASON
New outfielder Jason Heyward put bottles of wine in the lockers of his Dodgers teammates and coaches on opening night of the season. It’s a tradition Heyward began during his years with the Chicago Cubs.
Roberts and his wife are part owners of Red Stitch Wine and appropriately, he received a different bottle than the rest of the group. Roberts said he appreciated Heyward’s acknowledgment of his palate.
Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly starts Friday against RHP Dustin May of the Dodgers. Kelly began last season with a 15-inning scoreless streak. May went 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in six games coming off 2021 Tommy John surgery.