GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Clayton Kershaw pitched five innings in his penultimate tuneup for the season opener in Australia, giving up five hits to a split squad of San Francisco Giants during their 3-2 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kershaw allowed a two-run homer to Brandon Hicks in the second. The two-time Cy Young Award winner was picked earlier in the day to make his fourth straight opening-day start March 22 against Arizona at Sydney Cricket Ground.
“Anytime you get to start opening day, no matter what continent it’s on, it’s pretty cool,” Kershaw said.
Don Sutton holds the Los Angeles record with seven successive opening-day starts from 1972-78. Kershaw will become the first Dodgers pitcher to make four in a row since Ramon Martinez from 1995-98.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Kershaw said. “Getting to do it now for a few years in a row is pretty special. You know, you don’t take it for granted. I’ve known about it for a little while. It’s just time to prepare for it now.”
Hicks’ drive to right field scored Joaquin Arias, who singled and moved to second on a wild pitch by Kershaw.
The left-hander, who signed a $215 million, seven-year contract in January, is scheduled to make one more spring training start Saturday against San Diego before the Dodgers head to Australia.
“This game definitely wasn’t perfect,” Kershaw said. “But I think it was a step in the right direction. I built my pitch count up. I got to five innings, which is really important. Hopefully, I’ll have pretty close to a normal start the next time out.”
Hyun-Jin Ryu will start the second game against the Diamondbacks on March 23, manager Don Mattingly announced Sunday.
Giants starter Edwin Escobar gave up one hit and walked four in three innings.
Giants: Escobar, a left-hander, is a potential starter, although the 21-year-old from Venezuela might be a year away from getting a spot in the rotation. His fastball has been clocked as high as 94 mph.
“My first inning, I was trying to keep my ball down, but there was a little bit of adrenaline,” Escobar said. “It got a little exciting. After I got my first inning, I felt more comfortable.”
Dodgers: Kershaw isn’t sure what to expect in Australia, or how jet lag will affect him.
“I’ve been to Africa,” he said. “That’s a long flight. But I’ve never traveled like that to compete. To be honest, this is new territory for me.”