LOS ANGELES (AP) - Joe Wieland's major league debut couldn't have come on a much bigger stage than the pitcher's mound at Dodger Stadium.
And since the San Diego Padres were at the home of their NL West rivals, it made the 22-year-old right-hander's adrenaline level increase that much more. So much so that he couldn't overcome some early jitters and was roughed up for six runs in the first two innings of a 6-1 loss Saturday night.
Four of the runs came on a pair of two-run homers by Matt Kemp and another on a homer by Andre Ethier, who have combined for eight homers and 29 RBIs in Los Angeles' first nine games to help the Dodgers get off to a major league-best 8-1 start.
``It wasn't actually who was in the batter's box, because I faced a lot of good hitters in the spring. So I got over that,' Wieland said. ``But the whole surroundings, the whole atmosphere, that was the reason for the jitters. It wasn't like I was nervous. It was just excitement. But at the same time, I needed to control my emotions a little bit better.'
Wieland (0-1) eventually settled down, allowing no hits after Kemp's second homer, and was grateful to manager Bud Black for letting him work out his difficulties.
``It was very important,' Wieland said. ``I wanted to see how far I could go. I wanted to bounce back. I didn't want to end my night on something like that, and Bud letting me go back out there was big. I threw up a zero, then another one and another one, and it gave me confidence. I settled down and I started locating. That was the biggest difference between the third through fifth and the first two innings.'
Wieland, born in Reno, Nev., came to the Padres at last year's trade deadline along with fellow prospect Robbie Erlin in a deal that sent Mike Adams to the Texas Rangers. One day earlier, in his final start for Double-A Frisco, Wieland pitched a no-hitter against the Padres' San Antonio affiliate.
He made two starts this season for Triple-A Tucson before getting called up to fill in for right-hander Dustin Moseley, on the disabled list due to a right shoulder strain. Outfielder-first baseman Kyle Blanks was placed on the 15-day DL because of a troublesome left shoulder, opening a spot for Wieland on the 25-man roster.
``This has been my dream my whole life, and it's finally come true. I'm so blessed,' he said. ``But at the same time, it's a little bittersweet. I would have liked to start out a little better, but I didn't locate my fastball early. First-time jitters definitely affected me in that first inning.'
One night after former San Diego pitcher Aaron Harang and the Los Angeles bullpen struck out a combined 18 Padres - including a Dodgers-record nine in a row by Harang - Ted Lilly held the Padres to two hits over seven innings in his season debut after coming off the disabled list. And the early run support really helped the 14-year veteran left-hander.
``When we swing the bats like that, it brings a lot of energy to the dugout,' Lilly said. ``We were jumping around, and everyone was high-fiving and laughing. It's fun when you score runs. And when you get those runs early, it puts a lot of pressure on the opposing pitcher and it gives you a lot of momentum. So at that point I feel that my job is to make sure that I keep it going.'
Lilly, whose season was delayed because of neck stiffness, threw 79 pitches, struck out four and was charged with an unearned run. He finished last season 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA after winning five of his final six starts.
The only walk Lilly (1-0) allowed was to Nick Hundley, who was 0 for 2 and is hitless in his first 21 at_bats - matching the worst season-opening drought of his five-year career. The longest by a Padres position player to start a season was Ozzie Smith's 0 for 32 dry spell in 1979.
NOTES: Kemp has homered against seven pitchers on the Padres' roster. It was the first time he and Ethier homered back-to-back since April 16, 2010, in the first inning against San Francisco's Todd Wellemeyer. ... The Dodgers announced that Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully is expected to return to the TV booth on Sunday for his first home game of the season, after missing the first five games of the homestand because of a bad cold. Scully, in his 62nd year with the organization at age 84, was at the microphone for the season-opening, four-game series at San Diego.
The Associated Press News Service
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