1 of 3 | Fans were forced to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants game from outside of Dodger Stadium Thursday due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE
July 24 (UPI) -- Clayton Kershaw was scratched from his start and Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts combined for just two hits, but Enrique Hernandez provided plenty of spark to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers over the San Francisco Giants.
Hernandez went 4 for 5 with a home run and five RBIs in the 8-1 opening day victory Thursday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
"I have put a lot of work in and try to stay consistent and not try to do too much," Hernandez told reporters. "That's basically the approach I took tonight and it paid off.
"Hopefully I can have a few more of these days."
Ace pitcher Johnny Cueto started the game for the Giants. Dustin May -- a 6-foot-6 right-hander -- got the last-minute start in place of Kershaw.
Pablo Sandoval gave the Giants an early edge with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third frame. Hernandez then stepped to the plate and leveled the score in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Dodgers second baseman smacked a fly ball to left field for an RBI single during that exchange with Cueto.
The Giants ace left the game after that frame, but San Francisco's bullpen kept the Dodgers quiet for the next two innings. Los Angeles then erupted for five runs in the bottom of the seventh frame to take control of the rivalry clash.
Justin Turner brought in Betts on a fielder's choice to give the Dodgers a 2-1 edge. Hernandez followed with a two-run single before Austin Barnes raked another RBI single. Max Muncy brought in the final run of the rally when he took a walk with the bases loaded.
Hernandez topped off his impressive performance with a home run in the bottom of the eighth frame.
Bellinger -- the reigning National League MVP -- began the frame with a pop out, which prompted Justin Turner to step into the batter's box. Turner lifted a 2-2 fastball to right field for a double. Corey Seager then grounded out before Hernandez settled in for the fourth at-bat of the inning.
Giants relief pitcher Conner Menez threw consecutive balls to Hernandez before he worked the count even at 2-2. He then lofted in an 80.4-mph curveball to the Dodgers infielder. Hernandez hacked the offering to left field for a 338-foot, two-run homer.
"We're deep," Betts said. "Our lineup is just tough to get through without getting hit around a little bit.
"We battled and grinded through the whole day and we put up some runs. With the offense we have, we should win a lot of games if they only put up one. Everybody contributes, not one person we rely on, everybody passing the baton."
May allowed 7 hits and one run in 4.1 innings. Cueto allowed five hits and one run in four innings for the Giants. Betts was 1 for 5 with a run scored. Bellinger was 1 for 4 and had a walk. Tyler Heineman, Alex Dickerson and Mike Yastrzemski each had two hits for the Giants.
The Dodgers and Giants battle in the second game of the series at 9:40 p.m. EDT Friday at Dodger Stadium.
Kansas City Royals batter Alex Gordon connects for a sacrifice RBI during an exhibition game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on July 22. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo