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Betts gets debut souvenirs, Dodgers top Giants 8-1 in opener

BY BETH HARRIS

AP SPORTS WRITER

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mookie Betts singled in the seventh inning for his first hit as a Los Angeles Dodger, then signaled for the ball.

That, along with the lineup card, is headed for a display in his house.

“This is something I’ll always remember,” he said Thursday night after scoring the go-ahead run in an 8-1 opening victory over the San Francisco Giants in a fan-less stadium. “It’s just a new chapter in life.”

Betts went 1 for 5 with two strikeouts, a day after signing a $365 million contract covering 2021-32.

Kiké Hernández homered and drove in five runs while tying his career-high with four hits for Los Angeles.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said.

Justin Turner grounded into a fielder’s choice and Betts beat second baseman Donovan Solano’s throw to the plate to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the seventh. The Giants lost their video challenge of the call after Betts slid head-first.

“If that out is recorded at the plate, I think we’re talking about a much different game,” Kapler said.

Betts struck out with the bases loaded, ending a five-run inning that made it 6-1.

Adam Kolarek (1-0) got the victory with 1 2/3 innings of relief.

Dustin May became the first Dodgers rookie to start on opening day since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 after Clayton Kershaw went on the injured list because of a back issue. It was similar to when Valenzuela was a late replacement for the injured Jerry Reuss back then.

“He kept his composure,” Hernández said. “He wasn’t nervous or intimidated by the number of cardboards we had in the stands.”

May allowed one run and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-6 right-hander struck out four and walked none.

“It’s the kind of thing you dream about, throwing on opening day,” May said. “Once the first pitch was thrown I was all good and ready to get going.”

May originally was not on the 30-man active roster, and the 22-year-old found himself pressed into duty after Kershaw’s back stiffened during a weight room workout on Tuesday.

Pablo Sandoval’s sacrifice fly scored San Francisco’s lone run. Tyler Rogers (0-1) took the loss.

The sounds of the game were amplified with only cardboard cutouts of fans in areas of the stands.: The crack of the bat on a sharply hit ball. The DJ’s music echoing.

Foul balls clunking loudly upon landing in the seats. The home plate umpire’s third-strike calls easily heard. Teammates yelled reminders to Dodgers left fielder Joc Pederson about which base to throw to after he snagged a fly ball in the second.

Giants starter Johnny Cueto allowed one run and five hits over four innings.