Torre wins Dodgers debut as L.A. roughs up Zito
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- After a near-sleepless night, Monday turned out to be just about the perfect day for Joe Torre. The former New York Yankees' manager was victorious in his debut as skipper of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Brad Penny allowed four hits over 6 2/3 innings in his first Opening Day start, Jeff Kent hit a two-run homer off Barry Zito to cap a three-run first, and the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 5-0 Monday.
"It's just total excitement," Torre said. "I had a lot of family here. That's the thing that probably chokes me up more than anything, looking up and seeing the family."
Torre said a dinner celebration was planned for a party of close to 20 family members.
"We're going to be in the back of some restaurant tonight, exchanging niceties," he said.
Torre said both he and his wife had a difficult time sleeping Sunday night.
"If you add it all up, it was probably about three hours," he said.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers' move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, Duke Snider, Carl Erskine, Don Newcombe, Maury Wills, Steve Garvey, Bill Russell, Ron Cey and Tom Lasorda were among those took the field before the game wearing the uniforms of their era. Sandy Koufax and Fernando Valenzuela appeared in street clothes.
"There's such a strong connection with the Dodgers to the history of baseball," Torre said. "I remember growing up it was that way."
Torre, who grew up a Giants' fan in Brooklyn, managed the Yankees to 12 straight postseason appearances, including four World Series championships before rejecting an offer to continue on the job last fall. He joined the Dodgers two weeks later.
"I called several of my players -- my former players, I should say -- to wish them luck," Torre said before the game, adding he heard back from Yankees manager Joe Girardi, catcher Jorge Posada and shortstop Derek Jeter, among others, in the 24 hours leading up to his first game in a Dodgers uniform.
"The guys I've been with, I basically called and wished them luck," Torre said. "They meant a lot to me. We had a great relationship."
Torre said he also heard from former Yankee great Yogi Berra early Monday.
"He's brought a big bucket of professionalism and accountability that, at this time, this team needs," Kent said of Torre. "That's a good thing."
While Torre's first game in Los Angeles was played under ideal conditions, New York's final opener at Yankee Stadium was rained out.
Penny (1-0) retired 13 straight batters before Bengie Molina hit a one-out single in the seventh. Scott Proctor relieved after Aaron Rowand's two-out single and retired Jose Castillo on a fly to center. Penny walked two and struck out three.
"It's an honor to get that first start," Penny said. "I didn't have command early, I was all over the place. Later, I settled down, started throwing strikes. The walks will kill you."
The Dodgers held a 3-0 lead after sending only four batters to the plate. Rafael Furcal greeted Zito (0-1) with an RBI double and scored on Matt Kemp's one-out single before Kent hit a 2-2 pitch into the left-center field pavilion.
Kent's 18 Opening Day RBIs are the most among active players.
Kent missed most of the exhibition season because of a strained right hamstring.
"It was just one swing, one ball," he said of his 366th career homer. "I was able to hit a lot in spring training."
Zito allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings.
"The first inning was obviously not what we wanted," he said. "Furcal's a free-swinger and he hit a pitch that was at his shoulder, basically, and the ball stayed fair somehow. The pitch to Kent was a fastball away that just came over the middle, and I think that was the difference right there. I wanted to come out here and start off the season on a good note, but that first inning got out of hand. If I could take a couple of pitches back, it's a one-run game."
The game was the Giants' first without Barry Bonds on their roster since 1992. They decided late last season they wouldn't bring the 43-year-old slugger back for another year. Baseball's season and career home run leader still hasn't landed another job.
"It's going to be different," Giants owner Peter Magowan said. "For 15 years, we've had a huge presence in our clubhouse and on the field. And most of that presence, in my opinion -- I know it's controversial -- but most of that presence was very positive."
Dodgers rookie Blake DeWitt singled in his first big-league at-bat in the second and scored on Furcal's two-out single. The attendance was 56,000, matching the largest regular-season crowd in Dodger Stadium history. ... The Dodgers have a 25-26 record and the Giants are 31-20 in season-openers since the longtime rivals moved to California in 1958. ... Dodgers LF Juan Pierre, bypassed in favor of Andre Ethier, sat out the game to end his consecutive games played streak at 434. ... James Loney became the seventh different Dodger to start at first base on Opening Day in the last seven years; Ethier was the sixth different Opening Day left fielder in six years, and DeWitt became the fifth Opening Day third baseman in the last five years. ... Brian Bocock became the first Giants rookie to start at shortstop on Opening Day since Royce Clayton in 1992. Bocock walked twice and grounded out in his first big-league game, and was picked off first by Joe Beimel in the eighth.
LA Wins 2-1
- Home Plate Umpire - Ed Montague
- First Base Umpire - Jerry Layne
- Second Base Umpire - Phil Cuzzi
- Third Base Umpire - Jim Wolf