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ARI@LAD: Greinke fans Jacobs in the first

SAN DIEGO -- Zack Greinke and Ian Kennedy. Sound familiar?

Tuesday night's starting pitchers for the Dodgers and Padres were the protagonists of last season's memorable fracas between the Dodgers and D-backs that seemed to send both clubs in opposite directions of the National League West race.

Last June 11, Kennedy, then pitching for Arizona, hit Yasiel Puig in the nose with a pitch, eventually leading to a melee that led to six ejections in the game, including Kennedy.

After Kennedy hit Puig, Greinke retaliated by hitting Miguel Montero in the back with a pitch, and Kennedy further retaliated by hitting Greinke in the shoulder with a pitch.

"I wanted to throw inside, just kind of to send a message, but not to hit the guy, and it just kind of got away from me a little bit," Kennedy told after the game. "I was really just trying to go inside, because I didn't think it was right what he did to Miggy."

Kennedy was later suspended for 10 games.

Kennedy faced the Dodgers one other time after the incident, on July 9, just weeks before he was traded to the Padres. There were no incidents in that game.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, Greinke skipped the Dodgers' Australia trip while rehabbing from a right calf strain, and allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings, using 78 pitches,  in an exhibition against the Angels last week.

"Zack felt good about his last outing," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's a perfectionist, and he's never quite happy. I look for him to pitch well [Tuesday]."

With Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley on the disabled list, and Dan Haren coming off a dull exhibition start against the Halos, the Dodgers need a healthy Greinke to stabilize the rotation behind Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has become the early-season ace.

On Sunday, the Padres sent one of their power arms, pitcher Andrew Cashner, to the mound in a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers in San Diego's regular-season opener.

Kennedy isn't the typical power arm like Cashner or Tyson Ross, who will get the start Wednesday in the series finale.

If anyone was built to pitch at spacious Petco Park, it might be Kennedy, an extreme fly-ball pitcher who was traded to San Diego on the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2013.

Just don't try to convince Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley that Kennedy's isn't a power pitcher.

"My feeling is that no matter what your velocity is … if you can throw a ball by a guy, then you're a power pitcher," Balsley said of Kennedy.

Kennedy was 4-2 with a 4.24 ERA in 10 starts after the trade sent him to San Diego, a deal that saw the Padres ship lefty reliever Joe Thatcher and Minor League reliever Matt Sites to the D-backs, who might have sold low on Kennedy, given he was only two seasons removed from that big 2011 in which he won 21 games.

"Where he's at in his career, we're hoping that a good offseason working with Darren [Balsley] last year, a couple of minor tweaks in the delivery will help him," Padres manager Bud Black said.

Dodgers: Where's the offense? 

The middle of the Dodgers' batting order is off to a slow start after three games. Hanley Ramirez is hitting .091. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .111. Andre Ethier is at .167. 

The Dodgers had only four hits Sunday night against San Diego, but they think that had more to do with who was pitching than who was hitting.

Cashner was good enough for Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, who had two of their hits, to compare him to Kershaw.

"He's as good a young arm as we're likely to see all year," said Ellis. "He reminds me of a certain left-hander on our team."

Padres: About that pitching …

Black spoke at length on Sunday about the importance of having a strong pitching staff, specifically in the rotation. Then his starter went out and backed his statement.

Cashner, making his first Opening Day start, allowed one run over six innings, with five strikeouts and two walks.

Black knows that if the Padres are to make any headway in the NL West, and improve on consecutive 76-win seasons, it will have to start with their pitching.

"Very few teams that finish in the bottom of the league in pitching make the playoffs," Black said. "For us to get where we want to be, it's about the pitching."

On Sunday, Cashner and four relievers limited the Dodgers to one run on four hits.

"A lot of contributors," Black said. "A lot of good stuff from a lot of our guys."

Worth noting

• The Dodgers won seven of their last eight games against San Diego last season and were 6-4 at Petco Park.

• Dodgers left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez, who has struggled since last August, struck out the two batters he faced .

• Although it came on a blown defensive play by the Dodgers, Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal was credited with his first career stolen base, and he scored a run in the eighth-inning rally Sunday night. Comments