Dodgers hold off D-Backs for Sydney sweep

By Nick Mulvenney, Reuters

Posted at Mar 23 2014 09:02 PM | Updated as of Mar 24 2014 05:02 AM

SYDNEY - The Los Angeles Dodgers' offense stepped up to see off the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-5 on Sunday and give the National League West champions a sweep of the major league season-opening series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Dodgers won the opening day clash 3-1 on Saturday night on the back of Clayton Kershaw's pitching and the hitters, spearheaded by Yasiel Puig and Dee Gordon, finished the job in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 38,079.

The D-Backs scored all five of their runs in the last two innings, including a blockbuster two-run homer from Mark Trumbo in the ninth, but the deficit proved too large to make up.

South Korean lefthander Ryu Hyun-jin took the win after giving up just two hits in five innings, illustrating that the big-budget Dodgers will not be entirely reliant on the pitching of $30 million-a-season Kershaw this year.

An RBI from centrefielder Andre Ethier opened the scoring for the second day in a row, his single allowing Puig to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Cuban Puig, who went 0-5 on Saturday, helped extend the lead with a single in the third that sent Ryu scurrying to the home plate and speedster Dee Gordon made it 3-0 on the next at bat on an Adrian Gonzalez sacrifice fly.

D-Backs starter Trevor Cahill was pulled after giving up eight hits in four innings but the Arizona bullpen were unable to stem the flow of runs.

Gonzalez scored off a Mike Baxter groundout RBI in the fifth before Juan Uribe celebrated his 35th birthday by smashing a line drive double which came off the leftfield wall and Ethier stretched the lead to 5-0.

Puig made it 3-3 for the day in the sixth with a double just inside the leftfield foul-line which sent Gordon sprinting home for his second run.

A.J Ellis made it 7-0 off Gordon's sacrifice fly at the top of the seventh and Arizona finally got on the scoreboard through Martin Prado off a Mark Trumbo single in the eighth.

A.J. Pollock and Aaron Hill added two more runs off a Prado single in the ninth to make the score more respectable before Trumbo blasted the second homer of the series to give the D-Backs brief hope of a remarkable comeback.

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt had stretched his major league-leading run of consecutive games with a hit to 21 but little else went right for the D-Backs before the late rally. (Editing by Patrick Johnston)