Hernandez Powers Dodgers to 8-1 Opening Day Victory Over Giants

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers

 LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will seek their second victory in two games in the coronavirus-delayed and shortened 60-game season tonight when they again face the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Right-hander Ross Stripling will be the Dodgers starting pitcher. As of this morning, San Francisco had not announced its starter.

Stripling was expected to be a reliever this season but is replacing David Price in the starting rotation after Price opted out of playing this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, tweeting on July 4 it was “in the best interest of my health and my family's health for me to not play this season.''

The Dodgers were 8-1 winners over the Giants Thursday, breaking a 1-1 tie with five runs in the seventh inning, with a single by Kiké Hernandez accounting for two of his five RBI.

The Dodgers' scheduled opening day starter, left-hander Clayton Kershaw, was placed on the injured list because of back stiffness. Right-hander Dustin May was recalled and started in place of Kershaw, becoming the first Dodger rookie pitcher to start on opening day since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981

May allowed one run and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Four relievers limited the Giants to one hit over the final 4 2/3 innings.

It was the second consecutive season an injury forced Kershaw to miss the opening day start after he made a team-record eight consecutive opening day starts.

Kershaw began the 2019 season on the injured list because of left shoulder inflammation. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now with the Toronto Blue Jays, was the Dodgers opening day starter last season.

Just like in Thursday's other game -- the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals playing host to the New York Yankees – all uniformed personnel took a knee as players clutched a 200-yard black fabric as a show of unity. A prolonged moment of silence followed before gospel singer Keith Williams Jr. sang the national anthem.

Outfielder Mookie Betts was the only Dodger to kneel during the anthem. First baseman Max Muncy and outfielder Cody Bellinger put a hand on each of Betts' shoulders in a show of support.

San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler kneeled during the national anthem. Infielder Pablo Sandoval and outfielders Mike Yastrzemski, Jaylin Davis and Hunter Pence were among the Giants players kneeling.

A video calling for racial justice was shown before the game. It was produced by The Players Alliance, a group of current and former Black major leaguers which describes its mission as seeking “to create an inclusive culture within baseball and the community, where differences are leveraged to elevate racial equality and provide greater opportunities for the Black community, both in our game and the places we live in, play in, and care about most.''

Players wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts during batting practice, and game uniforms included patches that said “Black Lives Matter'' and “United for Change.'' The pitcher's mound at both games displayed a stencil of the inverted MLB logo depicting a Black player, with the message “BLM.''

The Dodgers sent 11 batters to the plate in the seventh. Betts, who singled with one out, scored the tie-breaking run, beating a throw home from second baseman Donovan Solano on a ground ball by Justin Turner.

Two batters later, Hernandez singled in Turner and Corey Seager, who had reached on a fielder's choice when Cody Bellinger was thrown out at home. An infield single by Austin Barnes, the No. 9 hitter in the Dodgers lineup, drove in Hernandez.

A four-pitch walk to Max Muncy forced in Joc Pederson, who walked.

Hernandez completed a 4-for-5 day with a two-run homer in the eighth. He also drove in the Dodgers first run with a fourth-inning single.

San Francisco opened the scoring in the third. Tyler Heineman, the No. 9 hitter in the Giants lineup, bunted for a single, moved to second on Mike Yastrzemski's single and third on Wilmer Flores' single and scored on Pablo Sandoval's sacrifice fly.

Left-hander Adam Kolarek, the fourth of five Dodger pitchers, was credited with the victory, pitching 1 2/3 hitless innings, striking out two.

Right-hander Tyler Rogers, who entered the game to begin the bottom of the seventh, was charged with the loss, allowing four runs and three hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Because public health directives prohibiting public events and gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic barred fans from attending, the Dodgers listed the attendance as 5,153 cutouts.

The Dodgers have instituted a fan cutout program, where 18-inch-by-30-inch cutouts are placed in seats. They cost $149 for field and loge-level locations and $299 for the Dugout Club or the new Pavilion Home Run Seats.

The cutouts have raised $867,000 for the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, the team's official charity, whose mission is to improve education, health care, homelessness and social justice for all Angelenos.

The Dodgers on Wednesday announced an expansion of the cutout program, offering fans the opportunity to have cutouts of their dogs placed in loge sections 143 and 145 for $149.

Photo: Getty Images

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