New addition Jimmy Rollins hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning, rallying the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-3 victory over the re-tooled San Diego Padres in the season opener on Monday.
Rollins took a curtain call in the dugout for his drive into the lower right-field seats off Shawn Kelley (0-1). Rollins and Howie Kendrick joined the team in the offseason to improve theDodgers' infield defense, but their offensive prowess delivered the victory.
Kendrick's RBI double with two outs in the seventh tied it at 3. Rollins went 2 for 4.
Reigning NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw struck out nine, but the team with baseball's highest payroll of $270 million trailed twice before Kendrick and Rollins baled them out.
Kershaw gave up three runs and six hits in six innings. Joel Peralta (1-0) got the victory and Chris Hatcher earned his first save.
San Diego's Matt Kemp went 2 for 4 with three RBIs against his former team, which stunned him with last winter's trade to a division rival. He received a mix of cheers and boos from the sellout crowd of 53,518 during pregame introductions before being greeted with a standing ovation in his first at-bat, which concluded with an RBI single off Kershaw for a 1-0 lead in the first.
Kemp doubled into the left-field corner with two outs in the fifth, scoring Clint Barmes and Derek Norris, who barely beat out an infield single to third to keep the inning alive. Kemp's clutch swing put the Padres back in front 3-2.
The Dodgers got three straight hits off James Shields in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Adrian Gonzalez led off with his first homer of the season. Kendrick followed with a triple that center fielder Wil Myers lost in the sun and then scored on Carl Crawford's double.
Shields allowed two runs and six hits in six innings in his Padres debut, finishing with eight strikeouts and two walks.
Dodgers star Yasiel Puig was hitless in three at-bats, striking out twice, getting hit by a pitch and walking once. Juan Uribe went 0 for 4 and didn't hit a ball out of the infield.
Looking for a place to watch the Dodgers this season? See our list here.