Lilly, Dodgers beat Giants 9-1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — New Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson stepped up to a microphone set behind home plate and shouted: "It's time for Dodger Baseball!"
The Dodgers didn't disappoint.
Ted Lilly outpitched Barry Zito through six innings and Los Angeles beat the error-prone San Francisco Giants 9-1 on Monday night in the Dodgers' first home game since changing ownership last week.
"It felt great. I think the fans were pretty excited to see Magic and all those guys sit in the owners' seats," said center fielder Matt Kemp, who caught the ceremonial first pitch from Brooklyn Dodgers great Don Newcombe.
"It was definitely a different atmosphere, Kemp said. "Magic's right by the on-deck circle, so I could probably give him a high-five whenever I want to."
Lilly (4-0) allowed a run and four hits, walked two and struck out six. It's the first time the 36-year-old two-time All-Star has won his first four decisions of a season in a big league career that began in 1999 with the Montreal Expos.
"That's very surprising, because I know he's had some great years in some different places," Kemp said. "He's pitching really well right now. He's doing a real good job of keeping hitters off-balance and making his pitches when he needs to, so we're just trying to get him as many runs as we can."
First baseman James Loney, 2 for 28 with seven strikeouts against Zito, wasn't in the starting lineup on his 28th birthday. But he came in for defense in the eighth, replacing Juan Rivera with the Dodgers ahead 4-1, and made a brilliant diving stop of Hector Sanchez's grounder up the line before tossing to Josh Lindblom at the bag to strand runners at the corners.
"We had the tying run up there and a pretty good hitter, and he made a great play there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "If that ball gets by him, two runs are in and the tying run is at second. That turned the whole game around. The wheels just came off after that."
The Dodgers tacked on five runs in the eighth against an injury-depleted Giants bullpen that was further undermined on Monday by the announcement of Guillermo Mota's 100-game suspension for a second violation of baseball's drug policy. The rally included a two-run single by Andre Ethier, who leads the NL with 30 RBIs.
Zito (1-1) gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings. The hard-luck left-hander has a 2.21 ERA in six starts, but the Giants have totaled only five runs over his last three outings.
"I felt pretty good tonight. My fastball command wasn't too great, but everything else was all right," Zito said. "There was just a lot of weird stuff going on out there tonight — infield hits, bunts — and it continued when I came out.