LOS ANGELES -- With Joc Pederson's grand slam, two homers from Yasmani Grandal (one from each side of the plate) and a Corey Seager three-run shot providing a comfy cushion, Clayton Kershaw kept his Opening Day record perfect with a two-hitter for seven innings as the Dodgers overpowered the Padres on Monday, 14-3, to begin the post-Vin Scully era at Dodger Stadium.
"You saw today there wasn't any letup. Regardless of the score, our guys continued to press on," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Sometimes you lose your edge in lopsided games and give away at-bats to where you're not as focused, and today that didn't happen."
Pederson had a sacrifice fly in the second inning, and MLB's first grand slam of the season in the third was followed by Grandal's homer off Jhoulys Chacin. It was the first Opening Day back-to-back homers in Dodgers history. Seager slugged his homer (exit velocity of 105.4 mph, according to Statcast™) in the fifth, and Justin Turner added two doubles. The Dodgers beat the Padres on Opening Day last year, 15-0.
Kershaw was charged with two runs (one earned), allowing a seventh-inning homer to Ryan Schimpf and an unearned run in the first inning after a Seager throwing error. Kershaw, who tied Don Sutton's Los Angeles record with a seventh consecutive Opening Day start, struck out eight (five called), and he improved to 5-0 with a 0.99 ERA on Opening Days.
Chacin, on the other hand, lasted just 3 1/3 frames and was tagged for a career-high nine runs -- the most by an Opening Day starter since Roberto Hernandez allowed 10 for Cleveland in 2011. Chacin's afternoon came unraveled after he recorded two quick outs on three pitches in the third. The Dodgers proceeded to score five two-out runs in the frame.
"Any loss is hard, but on Opening Day, it's tough," Chacin said. "We won't put our head down. We're going to keep working. I'm going to keep working for my next start, be prepared and put this game behind me."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED One strike away: Although it turned into a blowout, the key at-bat before the slam was Turner's two-out double on a 1-2 slider from Chacin with nobody on base in what turned into a five-run third inning. Turner's drive into the left-center gap just eluded the reach of left fielder Travis Jankowski. Exit velocity on Turner's double was 105 mph, according to Statcast™.
Not quite ready: Seager's throwing error in the first inning contributed to the only San Diego run or Kershaw would have been cruising toward a shutout. The shortstop missed most of Spring Training with a strained oblique suffered on a throw, and he was tentative instead of cutting loose on Monday, bouncing his first two throws to first base.
"My first ground ball of the year," said Seager, who rehabbed in spring Minor League games, but got more swings than ground balls. "It's a work in progress. Got closer on the second one, hopefully the third one will get there in the air."
"It's a tough lineup to navigate, and there was a purpose each time our guys stepped to the plate. It's a grind facing us." -- Roberts, on the Dodgers' offense
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Dodgers have won their last seven Opening Days.
BETHANCOURT IS IN SESSION
The Christian Bethancourt experiment got off to a bit of a rocky start. The Padres' pitcher/catcher hybrid saw his first pitch go to the backstop, prompting Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles to sprint home. Toles slid straight into the right leg of Bethancourt, who quickly clutched his knee as he writhed on the ground in pain.
But after being looked at by trainers, Bethancourt returned to the mound and pitched 1 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs -- all scoring on Seager's homer -- on three hits and two walks.
"I wasn't nervous or anything," said Bethancourt, who sustained a few cuts around his knee but nothing more. "I was just trying to throw strikes. Things didn't go well."
The Padres spent the spring converting Bethancourt, a lifelong catcher, into the sport's ultimate utility man. He's going to serve as a pitcher, outfielder, catcher and pinch-hitter in 2017.
Padres skipper Andy Green challenged Turner's fourth-inning double, believing the ball had landed foul just beyond the third-base bag. After a relatively quick review, Turner was indeed awarded second, and Kershaw scored on the play.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: No starting pitcher induced ground balls at a higher clip than Clayton Richard (63.9 percent) did during the second half of last season. The Padres brought back the veteran left-hander on a one-year deal, and he'll start Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. PT at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers:Kenta Maeda, who pitched six scoreless innings against San Diego in his Major League debut last year, starts the second game of the season on Tuesday in a 7:10 p.m. game. Maeda was 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA against the Padres last year.