LOS ANGELES -- Andre Ethier hit his second home run of the season with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, snapping a tie and giving the Los Angeles Dodgers a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates before a sellout crowd of 56,000 in their home opener at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
Ethier, a potential free agent after the season who stands to receive a staggering contract if he can stay healthy and put up his typical offensive numbers, is hitting .316 (6-for-19) through the first five games of the season for a Dodgers team that is off to a 4-1 start. He has nine RBIs, tying him with Matt Kemp for the club lead.
On the mend: Clayton Kershaw showed once again how good he can be when he isn't sick. Five days after leaving his Opening Day start in San Diego with a stomach flu, he dominated the Pirates for six innings, holding them to two hits and retiring 10 in a row at one point. Alas, he still was left without a win for the season, leaving with the game tied 1-1.
Getting creative: Dee Gordon did what he figures to do hundreds of times in the years to come, creating a run almost single-handedly. Gordon pulled a single to right field to lead off the game, stole second base for the fourth time this year, went to third on Mark Ellis' well-placed grounder to second and scored on Kemp's grounder to short with the Pirates' infield playing back at normal depth.
Still dominating: Since giving up hits to the first two batters he faced this season, one of them a two-run homer by San Diego's Cameron Maybin, Kenley Jansen has retired 12 batters in a row, including another perfect eighth inning against the Pirates. Jansen blew away former teammate Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes, then got Garrett Jones on a grounder to second. Jansen earned the win when Ethier's homer broke the tie.
Dry spell: James Loney ran his hitless streak to 14 at-bats to start the season.
Blinded by the light: It wound up moot, but Kemp lost a catchable fly ball in the sun to begin the second inning, resulting in a gift triple for Pirates third baseman Casey McGehee. Kershaw got out of the jam with a couple of strikeouts before getting Barajas to fly out to end the inning. The triple was one of only two hits Kershaw would allow through six innings.
Opportunity comes, goes: The Dodgers went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, stranding a couple of runners on third in the process, all of which conspired to prevent Kershaw from getting the win on a day when he basically owned the Pirates. The one run the Dodgers did get through the first seven innings came on a groundout.