Clayton Kershaw turned in a positive first start and Chris Taylor provided the difference for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals. The matchup at Surprise Stadium marked the first time this spring the Dodgers played nine innings.
Whit Merrifield led off the bottom of the first inning with a double but was quickly erased when Max Muncy caught a line drive and threw to second. A chopper up the middle then got Kershaw out of the inning on just seven pitches.
The Dodgers again put the leadoff man on in the second inning, with Chris Taylor hitting a double to the left-center field gap. That was quickly cashed in by Gavin Lux, who continued his strong start to the spring with an RBI infield single.
Kershaw allowed a two-out double in the second inning but stranded Michael A. Taylor by getting Ryan McBroom swinging for his second strikeout of the game. Kershaw’s afternoon came to an end with that, as he got through the scheduled two innings on an efficient 22 pitches.
Kershaw did additional throwing in the bullpen prior to making his way to the clubhouse. “Felt like the ball was coming out good today. Just another good stepping point for the season,” he said after the outing.
The Royals took advantage of the pitching change with a two-out rally that began on Merrifield’s single of Mike Kickham. Adalberto Mondesi followed with an RBI double that carried over Betts’ head and tied the game.
Kansas City then took a 3-1 lead, but that was short-lived as Taylor connected on a grand slam in the fifth inning. Omar Estevez’s sacrifice fly in the sixth created more separation, and Kody Hoese hit a leadoff home run in the eighth inning.
Dodgers, Padres poised for first meeting
After finishing with the top two records in the National League last season, and with both teams improving their rosters over the winter, the Dodgers and San Diego Padres will meet for the first time this spring on Saturday.
Trevor Bauer is scheduled to face the Padres, who are countering with Chris Paddack.
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