Eight-run third wins opener

The Dodgers exploded for eight runs in the last of the third inning, sparked by a two-run homer by Jolbert Cabrera and two-run doubles from Shawn Green and Juan Encarnacion, to win their exhibition opening game 13-4 over the New York Mets before an ESPN audience.

L.A. added five more runs in the next three innings to lead 13-3 after six innings. A press-box wag noted that was more runs than the Dodgers had scored in their first six exhibition games in 2003. While that may not have exactly been the case, it was just over 2% of the total runs scored by the Dodgers in 162 games last year.

Hideo Nomo gave up three runs in the first, then worked a scoreless second inning. Jose Lima was impressive during his two inning stint, giving up a single while fanning three to gain the win. In addition, he walked and scored twice in the big third inning.

Masao Kida, Rick White, Agustin Montero, Eric Knott and Yhency Brazoban followed, holding the Mets to one more run but it was the hitting that enlivened the large opening day crowd.

Green started at first base and Jim Loney following him at the position, collecting five hits between them. Green had a single and a double while Loney had a double, single and a home run, knocking in a run with each of them.

Encarnacion's debut in Dodger Blue saw him single twice and double, driving in three runs. Adrian Beltré walked and singled twice and Cabrera staked his claim on the second base job in the absence of injured Alex Cora, and added a second homer later in the game.

And if solid pitching and bombastic hitting weren't enough, Wilkin Ruan and Franklin Gutierrez made sparkling plays in the outfield and Green came up with a diving stop of a hot shot at first base, each drawing appreciative cheers from the Dodger crowd.

New Dodger owner Frank McCourt threw out the first ball and when the game started, umpire Bruce Froemming collected Nomo's first pitch, called time and presented it to McCourt who was sitting behind the Dodger dugout with his wife Jamie and members of his family.