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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Don Mattingly’s phone buzzed with text messages of good luck to the new Los Angeles Dodgers manager on opening day. The man who had groomed him for the job didn’t check in.
No slight intended, though. Retired manager Joe Torre was in Hawaii on Thursday, having talked to Mattingly a few days earlier.
Now it was time for his protege to go to work on his own.
“No Vince Lombardi today,” he said. “We’ve been laying out what we expect from guys all (spring) camp long.”
And the Dodgers lived up to it in a 2-1 win over the rival San Francisco Giants.
Clayton Kershaw struck out nine in seven dominant innings and Matt Kemp scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by catcher Buster Posey in the sixth inning, making Mattingly the first rookie manager to beat the defending World Series champions on opening day since Lou Piniella debuted with the Yankees on April 8, 1986.
“It feels good. You’re not going to get too giddy,” he said, a book entitled “Wisdom” by UCLA coaching legend John Wooden sitting on his desk.
Kershaw (1-0) allowed four hits and walked one. The 23-year-old struck out three of the four batters he faced in the first, giving him 500 strikeouts in his career.