Australia tests Dodgers in Sydney opener

Late rally gives visiting Los Angeles first win of trip Down Under

Cubs prospect Ryan Searle deals an offering for Team Australia on Thursday night in Sydney. (Matt King/Getty)

By Tyler Maun / | March 20, 2014 11:20 AM ET

The Los Angeles Dodgers came away with a win Thursday in their first competitive test Down Under, but the Australian national team didn't make it easy for them.

Cubs Minor Leaguer Ryan Searle pitched three shutout innings and struck out five in his start, but the Dodgers rallied late to come away with a 4-2 win in the run-up to the 2014 Opening Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Aussie team, dubbed the "Southern Thunder" by a fan poll last month, took control early behind a steady Searle. The right-hander worked around a walk and a single in the first to settle in. In the bottom of the third, former Red Sox farmhand Mitch Dening was hit by a pitch to get his team started. Dening went to third on a double by former Phillies infielder Brad Harman and then scored on a sacrifice fly from current Boston prospect Stefan Welch.

Dodgers starter Zach Lee --'s No. 63 overall prospect -- made his second start for the big league club this spring and yielded just one run on three hits over his four innings. Lee struck out six in a no-decision.

In the sixth, Australia doubled its advantage against Dodgers reliever Red Patterson when Milwaukee Brewers prospect Mike Walker rapped his second hit of the night, an infield single that plated Harman to put the host team in front 2-0.

Team Australia catcher Ryan Battaglia, a Cleveland Indians minor leaguer, added a single for the Aussies. Former Phillies prospect Tim Kennelly had two of his own, one of just two multi-hit performances in the game along with Walker.

Former big leaguers Ryan Rowland-Smith, who is pitching for Team Australia Thursday and Friday before rejoining his Diamondbacks teammates for the weekend's showdown with the Dodgers, and Shane Lindsay held the line for Australia.

In the eighth though, former Twins prospect Matt Williams faltered, surrendering Yasiel Puig's game-tying homer. After a passed ball with Chone Figgins at third gave the Dodgers their first lead, Juan Uribe singled off former Major Leaguer Brad Thomas to bring in the fourth and final run of the night for Los Angeles.

Dodgers Rule 5 selection Seth Rosin closed out the win for the visitors, striking out Battaglia and Twins Minor Leaguer Logan Wade with a pair aboard to end it.

Friday night, the Australians will take on the D-backs as they wrap up their two-game exhibition slate at the SCG. Arizona will hand the ball to top prospect Archie Bradley ( No. 5) in their final tuneup before Saturday's regular season opener against the Dodgers.

Tyler Maun is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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