SYDNEY, Australia - Until Saturday night, Diamondbacks' left-hander Wade Miley had no "history" with the Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke.
"I guess I do now," Miley said after Van Slyke ruined his Opening Day assignment with two extra base hits, including a two-run homer in the fourth inning, to power the Dodgers to a 3-1 win over Arizona before 38,266 in historic Sydney Cricket Ground.
The loss broke the D-backs' Opening Day winning streak at seven and the first defeat since they dropped a 3-2, 11 inning decision to the Rockies in the 2006 Opening Day contest
For his part, Van Slyke remains on the Dodgers' roster bubble and started in left field only because Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford are out with injuries. Should Kemp patrol his usual center field and Crawford in left, Yasiel Puig is the right fielder and former Arizona State University Andre Ethier is the fourth outfielder. That puts Van Slyke in the minors or dealt to another team.
Instead, Van Slyke started in left and hammered Miley for a double, which just missed clearing the left field fence that lead to a run in the second, and the bomb which just dropped over the fence at the right field foul pole in the fourth.
"I made a few mistakes and they made me pay," Miley said. "When you get behind and give them chances, it's tough to overcome."
The significant mistake, Miley pointed out, was a lead-off walk to Adrian Gonzalez to start the second. Gonzalez moved to third on Van Slyke's double and scored when Ethier grounded out to second.
"I can't walk lead-off hitters in an inning and that hurt me in the past," Miley added. 'Most of time, they end up scoring."
Then in the fourth, Miley struck out Gonzalez with a slider down and away but the ball eluded catcher Miguel Montero and Gonzalez reached first. Van Slyke followed with a drive which just barely made it over the 321 sign in the right field corner and that staked Dodgers' ace Clayton Kershaw to a nearly insurmountable, three run cushion.
If the Diamondbacks had an reasonable opportunity to break through against Kershaw, that came in the first inning.
After one out, Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt laced back-to-back singles but Martin Prado bounced to the mound and Mark Trumbo grounded to shortstop.
From that point, Kershaw kicked his game into gear and after the first showed his true form. Going 6 and 2/3 innings, Kershaw limited the Diamondbacks to five hits, one run and fanned seven hitters.
The only Arizona run came in the sixth when Goldschmidt, who went 2-for-4 with a double, scored on a grounder by Trumbo.
"We're a better team than we've showed here in Australia," said Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson. "Look, we have 161 games left and we'll get it right."
Due to a brief shower, the start of the contest was delayed 14 minutes. ... The Diamondbacks scored the lowest amount of runs on Opening Day since they were shut out by Hideo Nomo of the Dodgers, 8-0 at Chase Field on March 31, 2003.
FUTURE OF THE GAME
Prior to Opening Night Saturday, baseball commissioner Bud Selig said staging the Dodgers-Diamondbacks series in Australia is an important building block in, his words, "the internationalization of the game."
Selig told a group of reporters that offers are coming from various countries to stage regular season games, which he did not name, and that interest foreshadows the game dramatically expanding beyond the United States. Europe, Selig said, would be an attractive venue and Italy does have a history with baseball.
"I know I won't be around but my dream, in about 10 to 15 years, is to truly have a real World Series," he said. "We need to play the game in as many countries as possible and we're getting overtures from all parts of the world."
Selig discounted "the need" to move internationally, but said, "it's in the best interest of the sport (to expand globally). We want to take our great game world-wide."