SAN DIEGO – For one day at least, the moderate-payroll San Diego Padres are in first place in the N.L. West, ahead of the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers.
Seth Smith hit a towering drive for a tying homer leading off the eighth and Chris Denorfia singled home two runs to give the Padres a 3-1 victory against the rival Dodgers in baseball’s North American opener Sunday night.
Smith’s first hit with the Padres came on a 2-0 pitch from Brian Wilson, who started the eighth after Hyun-Jin Ryu threw seven scoreless innings. It sailed an estimated 360 feet into the right-field seats. It was his seventh career pinch-hit homer. He was acquired in an offseason trade with Oakland for reliever Luke Gregerson.
Wilson (0-1) walked pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal, who advanced when the veteran reliever couldn’t handle Everth Cabrera’s bunt for an error. Grandal stole third and Cabrera took second on indifference before Denorfia hit a bouncer up the middle to bring them both in.
“They’re all just one game, but when you’re facing a team like the Dodgers, full of great players, Brian Wilson, a guy who knows how to get it done in those situations, it’s not easy to do what our hitters did,” said Huston Street, who pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
Dale Thayer pitched a perfect eighth for the win.