<
>

Lawrence stingy, Nevin grand for San Diego

4/5/2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Brian Lawrence was awful and Phil Nevin idle
during spring training.

Both were very good on Opening Day.

Lawrence allowed one run in five innings and Nevin hit a grand
slam Monday as the revamped San Diego Padres beat the Dodgers 8-2,
spoiling the start of the Frank McCourt era in Los Angeles.

McCourt, a Boston real estate developer, purchased the Dodgers
from News Corp. during the offseason for $430 million.

A sellout crowd of 53,850 -- the largest opening-day attendance
in Dodger Stadium history -- booed the home team on several
occasions, most vocally after the Padres broke the game open
against Hideo Nomo by scoring six runs in the fifth.

Nevin's homer highlighted the big inning.

"It was a fastball -- I missed a couple of them earlier," Nevin
said. "I think this is an indication of what our lineup is capable
of."

The Padres added Brian Giles last August and Jay Payton and
Ramon Hernandez during the offseason, giving them a lot more pop
than they've had in several years.

Nevin was sidelined much of the spring because of a strained
left shoulder and had only 16 at-bats during the exhibition season.
He also sat out the first three months last year after undergoing
surgery on the same shoulder.

"It's no fun being hurt and watching your teammates play," he
said. "I'm not in any pain now -- it's more timing-wise."

Teammate Mark Loretta said Nevin was frustrated after his first
two at-bats against Nomo.

"He said, 'If I get another fastball, I'm not going to miss
it.' He didn't," Loretta said.

Lawrence, who had an 11.14 ERA in spring training, scattered
eight hits while walking two and striking out three. The Dodgers
had six hits and two walks in the first three innings but failed to
score, stranding seven.

"In the back of your mind, you're wondering if it's going to
continue," Lawrence said. "I feel good. I was confident I could
continue to do the things I did last year. I wasn't that worried
about it."

The Dodgers lost despite outhitting the Padres 15-12. But they
left 15 runners on base and hit into three double plays.

"Fifteen hits is a lot of hits to get and only score two
runs," manager Jim Tracy said. "We had a number of opportunities
to score runs today, and that's the encouraging part. We had guys
on base all day long."

Lawrence, who entered with a career batting average of .154,
also had a double and a single and scored twice.

Lawrence started the fifth-inning rally with a one-out single.
Sean Burroughs was hit by a pitch and Brian Giles drew a two-out
walk before Nevin hit a 1-1 pitch into the lower left-field seats.

Ryan Klesko walked and Payton, playing his first game with the
Padres, hit Nomo's first pitch in the same vicinity where Nevin's
homer landed to make it 7-0.

The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the third when Lawrence doubled
and scored on Loretta's one-out single.

"It's a fun thing to go up there and swing the bat," Lawrence
said. "I snuck two in there today."

Shawn Green, moved to first base from the outfield to make room
for new acquisition Milton Bradley, hit a 2-0 pitch into the
right-center field pavilion in the fifth for the Dodgers' first
run.

Bradley, acquired Sunday from Cleveland, singled in his first
two at-bats and finished 2-for-3 with two walks.

Cesar Izturis hit a two-out RBI single off Ismael Valdez in the
sixth and the Dodgers loaded the bases before Eddie Oropesa retired
Green on a bloop to short.

Burroughs hit an RBI single off Wilson Alvarez in the eighth to
complete the scoring.

Nomo, who had an 8.13 ERA in spring training, allowed seven hits
and seven earned runs in five innings.

Game notes
Juan Encarnacion, obtained by Los Angeles from the
defending World Series champion Florida Marlins in December,
doubled in his first two at-bats and had three hits. ... Green
failed to hit a homer in spring training. ... The Padres placed INF
Jeff Cirillo on the 15-day disabled list, replacing him by adding
non-roster LHP Oropesa. ... Dodgers RHP Eric Gagne was presented
with his NL Cy Young Award before the game by Don Newcombe, who won
the first such award in 1956. Gagne saved 55 games in 55 chances
last year and enters this season with 63 straight saves -- a big
league record. ... The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by former
Dodgers who won the Cy Young Award -- Newcombe, Mike Marshall,
Fernando Valenzuela and D.J. Drysdale, representing his father, the
late Don Drysdale. Sandy Koufax and Orel Hershiser, other Dodgers
to win the award, weren't present.