Dodger pitching finally allowed a run, falling just shy of a record

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Most of the focus, as the Dodgers jumped out to a hot 3-0 start to the 2016 season, was actually on the Padres who were so offensively inept that they scored exactly zero runs in their first three games facing the Dodgers. Starters Clayton Kershaw went seven scoreless innings, while Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda delivered six scoreless each.

Alex Wood took the bump for the Dodgers on Thursday against the Giants with the opportunity to pitch his team into the history books. If he made it through the fifth inning without allowing a run, he would help the Dodgers match a major league record with 32 consecutive scoreless innings to begin a season. The only other team to do so was the 1963 Cardinals, who relented a run with no outs in the sixth inning of their fourth game.

Wood got through the first four innings without relenting a run as the Dodgers went up 4-0, but he quickly found himself in trouble in the fifth inning. He issued a leadoff walk to Brandon Crawford, then was victimized by a perfectly placed bunt single by Kelby Tomlinson, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Angel Pagan moved both runners up a base with a soft grounder to third base. Denard Span brought home the first run with a ground ball to second base, with Chase Utley choosing to get the sure out at first base. That ended the Dodgers’ scoreless streak to begin the season at 31 1/3 innings. The offense continued as Joe Panik then drilled a Wood offering over a diving Joc Pederson in center field, bringing home Tomlinson. Buster Posey followed up with a double to score Panik. The trouble continued as Wood walked Hunter Pence, but he was able to get Brandon Belt to ground out to second base to end the inning.

Hard to think of a better way to start the season. The Dodgers’ pitching was a bit of a concern given all of the injuries they’ve endured, but things are looking pretty good for the moment.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).