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Originally published March 22, 2014 at 8:02 PM | Page modified March 22, 2014 at 11:37 PM

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Los Angeles Dodgers start season with a sweep in Australia

Clayton Kershaw gave up one run in 62 / 3 innings to help the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Arizona 3-1 in Sydney, Australia, in the first major-league baseball game of the season. The Dodgers proceeded to complete a sweep of the Diamondbacks by winning the second game 7-5.

The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times

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SYDNEY, Australia – Clayton Kershaw flashed his Cy Young form, Scott Van Slyke homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers opened the regular season with a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday at Sydney Cricket Ground.

A crowd of 38,266 watched as Major League Baseball played a regular-season game in Australia for the first time.

The Dodgers supplied an encore by beating Arizona 7-5 in the second and final game of this series.

Kershaw, who signed a seven-year, $215 million contract in January, allowed one run and five hits in 62 / 3 innings. Van Slyke hit a two-run homer and also doubled for last year’s NL West champions.

The first pitch was delayed because of rain for 14 minutes. By then, the long trip Down Under had taken longer for some Arizona players.

A team bus had a flat tire, and Diamondbacks officials said “a handful” of players decided to walk the last half-mile to the stadium instead of waiting for a replacement bus.

Kershaw was impressive while making his fourth consecutive opening-day start. He struck out seven, walked one and was pulled by manager Don Mattingly after throwing his 102nd pitch.

It was quite a turnaround from spring training, when the 2011 and 2013 NL Cy Young winner went 0-3 with a 9.20 earned-run average in four starts.

“Sometimes you just need the adrenaline of a regular-season game, and I just kind of feel relieved to get this one under my belt,” he said.

In his previous opening-day starts, Kershaw was 2-0 with 19 strikeouts in 19 scoreless innings.

None of the Dodgers’ three relievers in the first game — Chris Perez, Brian Wilson and closer Kenley Jan­sen — allowed a hit. Jansen walked a batter before getting Gerardo Parra to ground out to end the game.

“Clayton was really good, kind of as always ... kind of doing his thing,” Mattingly said. “He’s a tough guy to take out of the game, he always wants to stay in.”

Arizona starter Wade Miley took the loss.

Of the crowd, Van Slyke said, “I noticed a lot more people here have beers in their hands.”

In the second game, which started about 18 hours after the opener began, the Dodgers led 7-0 after seven innings. After Arizona scored four runs in the ninth, Jansen struck out Parra for the final out.

Dodgers leadoff hitter Dee Gordon went 3 for 4 and scored twice.


• Cincinnati’s Skip Schumaker dislocated his left shoulder diving for a ball Friday and will miss about a month.

• San Diego pitcher Josh Johnson, projected to be the team’s No. 4 starter, is expected to miss from four to five weeks with a strained right forearm.

• Cleveland released outfielder Jeff Francoeur, 30, who hit .286 in spring training.

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