For one day at least, the moderate-payroll San Diego Padres are in first place in the N.L. West, ahead of the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers.

Seth Smith hit a towering drive for a tying homer leading off the eighth and Chris Denorfia singled home two runs to give the Padres a 3-1 victory against the rival Dodgers in baseball's North American opener Sunday night.

Smith's first hit with the Padres came on a 2-0 pitch from Brian Wilson, who started the eighth after Hyun-Jin Ryu threw seven scoreless innings. It sailed an estimated 360 feet into the right-field seats. It was his seventh career pinch-hit homer. He was acquired in an offseason trade with the A's for reliever Luke Gregerson.

Wilson (0-1) walked pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal, who advanced when the veteran reliever couldn't handle Everth Cabrera's bunt for an error. Grandal stole third and Cabrera took second on indifference before Denorfia hit a bouncer up the middle to bring them both in.

"They're all just one game, but when you're facing a team like the Dodgers, full of great players, Brian Wilson, a guy who knows how to get it done in those situations, it's not easy to do what our hitters did," said Huston Street, who pitched a perfect ninth for the save. "To come back and get three right there in that situation, especially after leaving guys on base early, that's what this team is going to have to do to win. We're going to have to battle all year long."

The Dodgers set a record with an opening-day payroll of $234 million. The Padres are 23rd at just under $90 million.

The defending NL West champion Dodgers had started the regular season with a two-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney.

Ryu got the start after reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was scratched due to a swollen back muscle and then placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career.

In a scheduling quirk, the left-hander started consecutive regular-season games. He made his season debut a week earlier, when the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks in their second game in Australia.

Monday storylines: Baseball is ready to heat up Monday with its first full slate of games this season.

David Ortiz and the World Series champion Boston Red Sox begin their title defense in Baltimore against home run king Chris Davis and the A.L. East rival Orioles. Robinson Cano makes his Seattle Mariners debut, looking to live up to a huge contract -- just like Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.

Behind the scenes, umpires at all six replay stations in New York will be at the ready for the first time in baseball history.

In Texas, Tanner Scheppers, a converted setup man, will be the first pitcher to make his first major league start in a season opener since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 for the Dodgers. Scheppers got the nod because major league strikeout leader Yu Darvish is on the disabled list with a sore neck.

The Milwaukee Brewers get back star slugger Ryan Braun for their home opener against the Braves. Braun is returning from a 65-game suspension he accepted last season for his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

Braun will take his position on the lush new grass at Miller Park, a field grown under heat lamps imported from Europe because the winter temperatures in Wisconsin were too cold -- even with the roof closed.

The start of Derek Jeter's retirement tour will wait one more day. The New York Yankees, with baseball's oldest roster, will face the youngest on Tuesday night in Houston.

Baseball box

For the boxscore from the Dodgers-Padres stateside opener, go to page 7