3/9/2014 7:35 P.M. ET
Kershaw improves in start against Giants
Opening Day starter allows two-run homer among five hits in five innings
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw allowed a two-run homer to Brandon Hicks, but the Dodgers rallied before falling to the Giants, 3-2, in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Camelback Ranch on Sunday.
Edwin Escobar started for the Giants and pitched three innings, overcoming four walks while allowing one run. Non-roster pitcher Jason Berken followed with three scoreless innings.
"My first inning, I was trying to keep my ball down, but [I had] a little bit of adrenaline," Escobar said. "It got a little exciting. After I got my first inning, I felt more comfortable. Everything was true, and I felt better than the first inning."
Kershaw threw 70 pitches in five innings, allowing five hits with one strikeout, but it was still his best start of the spring, having come into the game with an ERA of 18.00. He was announced the Opening Day starter before Sunday's game.
"The results were a little bit better," Kershaw said, comparing this game to earlier starts. "Still things I need to work on. For the most part, a positive step in the right direction."
The Dodgers scored in the first inning after a walk to Chone Figgins, who stole second, went to third on A.J. Ellis' groundout and came home on first baseman Brandon Belt's throwing error.
Los Angeles tied the game in the seventh against Dan Runzler on singles by prospects Corey Seager and Joc Pederson, then walks to Scott Van Slyke and Drew Butera. Red Patterson issued a bases-loaded walk of his own in the eighth to give the Giants the lead.
Yasiel Puig returned from a day away on a personal matter to go 1-for-3 with a double.
Defensively, Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval made a backhand stop of a Puig shot down the line in the fifth inning and threw him out, saving two runs.
Up next: Hyun-Jin Ryu, named Sunday to pitch the second game of the regular season in Australia, gets the start Monday against Oakland at 1:05 p.m. PT. It will be Ryu's third start of the spring and he might stretch out to five innings. The game marks the final week of Cactus League games for the Dodgers, so manager Don Mattingly is expected to stick longer with his regular lineup. Also likely to pitch for the Dodgers is Matt Magill.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.