Giants couldn't catch Matt Kemp napping on the bases
Clayton Kershaw's greatness is expected, so the most pleasantly surprising sign for the Dodgers in their 2-1 opening day victory over the San Francisco Giants was this: Matt Kemp ran the bases well.
Kershaw and Tim Lincecum were putting up zeroes into the sixth inning, when the Dodgers loaded the bases with one out. Kemp was on third base, Lincecum threw a pitch in the dirt, and Giants catcher Buster Posey thought he had a shot at catching Kemp napping.
"I just thought, especially with a ball in the dirt, we might have had a chance of catching him with his head down," Posey said.
Instead, Posey threw the ball into left field for an error, and Kemp scored the game's first run. Kemp was rather amused by Posey's thought.
"My foot was on the bag when he threw it," Kemp said. "I was already there."
For Kemp, whose base-running blunders baffled Dodgers fans and coaches last year, the evening was a tour de force on the bases. He raced from first to third on an overthrow by Giants shortstop Miguel Tejada in the sixth inning, and he stole a base and scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning.
That's one stolen base in one chance for Kemp, who stole 19 bases in 34 tries last season. Kemp has said he would like to steal 40 bases this season.
Other notes from the Giants and Dodgers clubhouses:
-- San Francisco Manager Bruce Bochy said he appreciated that infielder Juan Uribe formed a heart with his hands when he caught the manager's attention during pregame introductions. Uribe played the previous two seasons with the Giants.
"Good guy, good person, good manager," Uribe said. "I love the guy a lot. I feel happy when I see the guy."
Uribe, who signed with the Dodgers when they were the high bidder in free agency, said he had no hard feelings toward the Giants.
"I feel happy when I play the Giants. My old friends are here," he said. "I feel happy toward the Giants. It's not like I don't like the team."
-- The Giants raved about Kershaw, who lowered his career earned-run average against San Francisco to 1.23. Kershaw has thrown 17 consecutive scoreless innings against the Giants.
"We're going to have to figure out a way to do something with him," Bochy said.
Said Posey: "That's a bad draw opening day, to face that guy in the shadows. He was electric."
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemps slides safely into second with a stolen base as Giants shortstop Miguel Tejada fields the throw in the sixth inning Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times