Hill starts strong, Puig homers and Dodgers beat Padres 3-1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rich Hill endured a rocky spring, struggling with command and not exactly sailing smoothly into the first season of a $48 million, three-year contract.
He said he wasn’t worried. Seems he was right.
Hill pitched five innings of two-hit ball, Yasiel Puig hit his first home run of the season and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Hill (1-0) struck out five, walked three and allowed Hunter Renfroe’s homer in his first start since returning to the Dodgers on a free agent deal. Hill said throughout the spring that despite his struggles, he was confident he’d be on track by the start of the season.
“I only threw 75 pitches and I made one mistake on the home run, but it’s early, and I felt good tonight,” Hill said. “I made some mechanical adjustments, and I feel good about it.”
Relievers Sergio Romo, Alex Wood and Kenley Jansen shut the Padres down the rest of the way, and Jansen pitched the ninth inning for his first save of the season.
The left-handed Hill was hit by a pitch in his right hand while batting in the second inning. After a short delay, he remained in the game.
“He said he’s fine, but we’re going to take a few pictures to make sure,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “When we got out to check on him, the first thing he said was that his on-base percentage was 1.000.”
Trevor Cahill (0-1) allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings in his first start with San Diego. Cahill was a reliever last season with the world champion Chicago Cubs but signed a one-year deal this winter to start for the Padres. He allowed five hits and three walks and struck out seven.
“I gave up two runs in the first, but after that I settled in and felt good, but unfortunately things didn’t go exactly as I wanted them to,” Cahill said. “They have a tough lineup and Rich Hill doesn’t let you put many up on the board.”
Puig drilled a two-out, 1-2 pitch deep over the left field wall to put Los Angeles ahead 3-1 in the fourth inning. Puig, batting eighth after struggling in 2016, and Justin Turner each had two hits for the Dodgers.
“I’m trying to make better swings,” Puig said through an interpreter. “I’m not used to batting that low in the order, but it keeps me in the lineup so I have to do my job.”
In the first inning, Adrian Gonzalez’s ground-rule double to left scored Corey Seager. One batter later, Gonzalez scored when first baseman Wil Myers misplayed a throw from third baseman Ryan Schimpf.
Myers had two of the Padres’ three hits in the game.
Los Angeles improved to 39-20 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium since the beginning of 2011.
Dodgers broadcaster and former pitcher Fernando Valenzuela caught the ceremonial first pitch from his granddaughter, Tatiana.
Padres: RHP Cater Capps, who missed last season following Tommy John surgery, is expected to throw a bullpen session Thursday and a simulated game Saturday at Petco Park before the Giants-Padres game.
Dodgers: Dave Roberts said that outfielder Andre Ethier (on DL with a slight disc herniation in lower back) “felt normal soreness after running yesterday while continuing his rehab. He’s aggressively trying to rehab, but he’s still a ways from returning.”
Padres: RHP and ex-Angel Jered Weaver makes his Padres debut in Thursday’s series finale.
Dodgers: RHP Brandon McCarthy goes for LA, completing the four-game homestand.
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