After southpaws Clayton Kershaw and Scott Kazmir gave the San Diego Padres fits through the first two games of their Opening Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres hoped to have success in facing Kenta Maeda.
The Japanese right-hander was tasked with matching the high standards set by his fellow starters, as the Dodgers rode the strong pitching performances to a pair of shutout wins. The Dodgers did their part to alleviate the pressure on Maeda in his Major League debut by scoring four runs in the first inning.
Maeda retired the side in order in the bottom of the first, and worked around a bunt single and his throwing error in the second inning, to again keep the Padres off the board.
With Maeda and the Dodgers cruising through the game, he helped himself by hitting a solo home run in the top of the fourth to extend the lead to 5-0.
San Diego threatened in the bottom half of the inning behind a pair of one-out singles from Matt Kemp and Wil Myers that put runners on the corners. However, Maeda worked his way out of trouble, receiving some defensive help from Adrian Gonzalez.
The 27 year old went on to collect four strikeouts on 84 pitches over six shutout innings. Yimi Garcia, J.P. Howell and Joe Blanton each threw one scoreless inning of relief as the Dodgers set a new record with 27 shutout frames to start a season.