The former Padre first baseman wreaked havoc on them opening week. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Adrian Gonzalez Goes Wild Against Padres
The season for both the Dodgers and the Padres opened on the same schedule this season – Monday at 1:10.
It wasn’t like last year where the Dodgers had already thrown their ace Clayton Kershaw in Australia and assumed the Padres would have another humdrum season, while they had visions of World Series victories. That was before Kershaw went on to win both the MVP and Cy Young Award last season.
Adrian Gonzalez, of course, is from the San Diego area. One time considered the face of the franchise – the heir to Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman as Padres ambassadors. Yet, the ownership in place then felt they could not afford to resign him as a free agent, decided to traded him to the Boston Red Sox for another first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitching prospect Casey Kelly. Rizzo was later traded to the Chicago Cubs and Kelly is still in the Padres farm system.
Opening Day didn’t quite go as planned with new ace James Shields on the mound. Shields matched Kershaw, who didn’t seem quite as sharp as normal, and exited after six innings, only allowing 2 runs.
The Padres held a 3-2 lead, then Nick Vincent allowed a run to tie it in the seventh, next Adrian homered for the second time in the eighth off of Shawn Kelley, and that was all the Dodgers would need. They wrapped it up 6-3 with Chris Hatcher getting his first save of the season.
Game 2 showed all of the talk the new offense the Padres were hoping for. The Padres ended up with 11 hits, scored four runs in the ninth inning (In 2014 they most they ever scored in a 9th inning was 3 runs) and ended up with the victory 7-3. New catcher Derek Norris went 3-5, Yonder Alonso had 3 hits, and shortstop Clint Barmes went 2-2 after coming in to pinch-hit for Alexi Amarista. The pitching matchup pitted 2014 standout Tyson Ross against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke and this one saw the Dodgers with a 2-1 and both starters exiting after six innings. This time though the Padres got through the bullpen before Joaquin Benoit allowed a homer to – ready – Adrian Gonzalez in the 8th to tie the game. Craig Kimbrel came in despite it not being a save situation with the four run lead and showed how exciting he will be to watch this season as he struck out the side.
In the rubber match of the series, Adrian Gonzalez crushed THREE home runs off of Andrew Cashner to lead the Dodgers to a 7-4 victory; last year the Padres scoring 4 runs was a major accomplishment, now it’s expected. Will Middlebrooks did hit his first home run as a Padres. Justin Upton also homered for the first time and at the very least it is exciting to have players who can alter the game with one at-bat. These two teams are bound to fight it out all year long in the NL West. They may have won this battle – but the war has just begun.
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