The NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres met for the first game this season on Friday night. The Padres defeated future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw 5-2 in the fifth inning at Petco Park, owing in major part to Fernando Tatis Jr. (box score).
Los Angeles promptly took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Tatis responded with a solo home run off Kershaw in the third inning and a two-run home run against Kershaw in the fifth. Tatis is 7 for 20 (.350) with four home runs against Kershaw and has 15 career home runs against the Dodgers.
Kershaw was ineffective on Friday night. Going into the game against San Diego, he had walked five batters in each of his previous six starts this season. He has not begun with five walks since August 1, 2019. Kershaw got struck for four runs on eight hits and five walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Unlike Kershaw, former Dodger Yu Darvish threw 6 2/3 quick and productive innings, allowing just two runs. Between the second and seventh innings, he struck out six batters and retired 14 consecutive. Only seven of the 24 batters Darvish faced were able to hit the ball out of the infield.
Tatis completed his 80-game suspension for taking performance-enhancing substances on April 20. After going 2 for 5 with two home runs on Friday, he hit.267/.302/.500 in 13 games back with the club. The Padres have a 9-4 record in those 13 games.
On Friday, the Padres improved their record to 18-15. The Dodgers currently lead the NL West with a 19-14 record. These two teams will face off six times in the next 10 days, not counting Friday.