LOS ANGELES — The stage was set Friday night for the beginning of as big of a series that June can offer.
But the intrigue of what might happen in round one or the specter of a pitchers’ duel had been spoiled by the end of the first inning.
The Dodgers teed off on Luis Severino for six runs on plenty of loud contact before he could record a third out, and the Yankees lost 8-4 in front of a sellout crowd at Dodger Stadium.
Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson, both in their first games back off the injured list, hit solo home runs off Clayton Kershaw, but that was all the Yankees (34-25) could muster against the veteran left-hander across seven innings.
Donaldson later added a two-run homer in the ninth, in his first game since April 5, but it was not enough to keep the Yankees from their second straight loss.
Severino had been sharp in his first two starts back from a stint on the IL with a right lat strain, allowing just three runs on five hits combined.
But the Dodgers eclipsed both of those marks in the first inning alone and Severino ended up allowing seven runs on nine hits, including three home runs, across four innings.
On a night when Severino’s average fastball velocity was down 2.3 mph — from the 97.3 mph he had averaged across his first two starts — the Dodgers (35-23) ambushed him.
Mookie Betts crushed Severino’s second pitch of the night into the Dodgers’ bullpen for a 1-0 lead and then came back around to cap off the rally with a two-out, RBI single that made it 6-0.
In between, Severino gave up five singles, another home run to Max Muncy and a sacrifice fly that came within a few feet of also leaving the yard.
As troubling as the amount of contact that Severino allowed was how hard the balls left the Dodgers’ bats. In the first inning alone, they recorded exit velocities of 110.1 mph, 105.4 mph, 94 mph, 101.7 mph, 40.2 mph (a check-swing infield single by J.D. Martinez), 101.1 mph, 99.2 mph, 89.7 mph, 99.3 mph and 98.6 mph.
Overall, 14 of the 19 balls the Dodgers put in play against Severino came off the bat at 94 mph or harder.
Severino was bailed out of the first inning becoming even more of a disaster when Jose Trevino picked off James Outman leading too far off of third base with runners on the corners and Freddie Freeman at the plate.
It was a much different first inning for Kershaw, who needed just five pitches to retire the Yankees in order.
Though the Yankees had bullpen action in the bottom of the first, Severino came back for the second inning and retired the side. But Martinez homered to lead off the third inning, putting the Dodgers ahead 7-1.
Most of the 52,534 in attendance enjoyed every bit of Severino’s clunker, but it did take some air out of what was expected to be a showdown between two of the league’s most iconic teams.
“I think a weekend in June in LA, Dodgers-Yankees, has a good sound to it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said a few hours before the series opener quickly went awry. “It probably does give you a little extra juice.”
But the Dodgers were the only ones drinking it.
Tommy Kahnle sprinted in from the bullpen to relieve Severino to begin the fifth inning in his season debut.
After he missed the first two months with right biceps tendinitis, Kahnle returned to toss a scoreless inning in which he gave up a double and a walk, but struck out Outman to end the threat.
Betts later clobbered his second home run of the night in the sixth inning off Weber.
The former Red Sox outfielder finished the night 4-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs.