Look at him. Look at him now. That’s Matt Kemp. The center fielder for the Dodgers. He’s back, and playing in Baseball games again, and boy did he shut up his detractors tonight while leading the Dodgers to a dominating 9-3 win over the Snakes, which moved them to within one win of the division title. Yeah, look into his eyes and tell me you if you can still be upset with Kemp for being rusty for the first five months of the season.
Oh you can’t. You can’t be mad at him anymore. Look at those puppy dog eyes. Behind them mask a beast I tell you. A beast that is lurking to destroy the National League again. Matt Kemp is the hungriest hitter on the Dodgers. I hope all of the Kemp haters on twitter feel very foolish. Matt Kemp returned to the Dodger lineup tonight batting fifth and bludgeoned the ball all night. Hanley Ramirez, and Scott Van Slyke were both back as well, but not Andre Ethier who is still out with the sore ankle. And isn’t this something? The Dodgers finally put out a real competitive major league lineup, No Chili Buss, or utility players. And hey what do you know? The Dodgers won. No surprise there.
The plate approaches looked a lot better too. Probably had something to do with Hanley, and Kemp being back, and opposing starter Patrick Corbin had a bad night. The Dodgers looked angry and the intensity and focus we saw during the incredible run returned tonight. The Dodgers looked great as they snapped their four game losing streak in style. The Dodgers also announced they would be pushing Kershaw back to Saturday in San Diego, and Fife will be starting tomorrow. No big deal there, the club just wants him some extra rest, and to line him up for the playoffs. Fife better bring his A-game tomorrow.
Matt Kemp had his first four hit game since Last September 26, 2012, at San Diego. Kemp had two four hit games last season. Tonight Kemp had two doubles, and two singles, and drove in three runs. He drove in two on a two-run double in the first inning, and then added an RBI single in the fourth inning. He was eventually removed for a pinch-runner in the top of the seventh.
The Dodgers scored nine runs on 12 hits in tonight’s tilt. They finally had an early lead and first inning runs by scoring four in the first, when Hanley and Ellis singled, Kemp doubled them home, and then Juan Uribe’s two-run shot made it a 4-0 lead. The Dodgers scored two more in the third when Hanley walked and then scored on a booming two-run home run from Gonzalez. That knocked Corbin out of the box, and they kept it going in the fourth. M.Ellis’s squib single scored Greinke, and Kemp’s RBI single made it a 7-0 game. The Dodgers added another run in the eighth on Michael Young’s RBI triple. Which at the time made it a 9-2 game.
Zack Greinke won his 15th game of the season by tossing six innings of two-run ball. Greinke made 107 pitches and allowed two runs on six hits with a walk, and five whiffs. The Snakes were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. They did score three. One of which was on a solo home run from Aaron Hill. Paul Goldschmidt had two more hits of course. M.Ellis had two hits, and Uribe had two and drove in three. Yasiel Puig had a rough game though, going 0 for 5. I can taste the champagne. Can you? The Dodgers magic number is now 2. Here’s how this enjoyable victory happened……
The Dodgers threaten right away in the top of the first. Corbin gets Yasiel Puig to fly out to left, but Mark Ellis, and Hanley Ramirez reach with consecutive singles. But Adrian Gonzalez pops out to Gregorius. Corbin then uncorks a wild pitch to advance the runners to second and third. Matt Kemp steps up and then lashes a line drive double down the left field line to score M.Ellis and Hanley. Dodgers lead 2-0 on Kemp’s two-run double. Juan Uribe immediately homers well into the left field bleachers and the Dodgers lead 4-0 now on Uribe’s 12 blast of the season. Scot Van Slyke singles, and Corbin gets out of the inning on an A.J. Ellis force out.
The Snakes also threaten in the bottom of the first, but Greinke holds them off. Adam Eaton, and Aaron Hill lead-off with singles. The scary Paul Goldschmidt who terrorizes the Dodgers flies to deep right field. Puig fires a rainbow laser throw to third, but Eaton tags up to third. Greinke flas his wings and let’s his fastballs fly. He adjusts to whiff Eric Chavez, and Martin Prado, (Prado on a foul tip), and the Dodgers escape.
Greinke settles down with a 123 bottom of the second, getting three ground ball outs. Both pitchers exchange scoreless second frames.
The Dodgers do some more damage in the top of the third, finally resulting in Corbin getting knocked out of the game. Hanley walks, and scores on Gonzo’s booming 21 home runs of the season, hit over the right field fence. Dodgers lead 6-0. Kemp doubles off the center field wall, but the Dodgers can’t score him. Matt Langwell replaces Corbin, and he retires Uribe on a grounder, Van Slyke on a broken bat grounder, and a slicing line out from A.J.
The Dodgers added two more runs in the fourth. Greinke walks, and goes to second on Puig’s grounder. M.Ellis’s squib single up along the first base line trickles past Goldschmidt as Greinke comes around to score, to put the Dodgers up 7-0. After a walk to Hanley, and a Gonzo foul out, Kemp rips his third hit of the night, a line drive single up the middle to plate M.Ellis. Hanley gets tagged out between second and third, but the run counts. Dodgers now lead by a score of 8-0.
Arizona gets on the board in the bottom of the fourth. A ground ball single from Goldschmidt, a line drive single from Chavez, and a grounder force out from Prado plates a run, to make the score 8-1 Dodgers. Greinke whiffs Montero, and retires Parra on a fly to center. Chaz Roe replaces Langwell in the top of the fifth, and pitches a scoreless frame. Greinke cruises through the bottom of the fifth picking up another whiff to give him four.
Aaron Hill’s lead-off homer in the bottom of the sixth, makes the score 8-2 now. Then Greinke has trouble getting out the inning. He gives up a double to Goldschmidt. There’s a ground out to Chavez, but Montero walks. The Dodgers meet on the mound to see if Greinke can get the last out. He finally does by whiffing Will Nieves, but it was kind of sketch for a minute. 8-2 Dodgers after six frames.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the seventh with one out against Heath Bell but couldn’t score. Matt Kemp singled, and after reaching third base was removed for a pinch-runner. Kemp goes 4 for 4 on the night. That’s Kemp’s first four hit game since July 28 2012.
J.P. Howell throws a scoreless bottom of the seventh, and the Dodgers add another run in the top of the eighth, on a Hanley walk, and a Michael Young triple. Young came in to give Gonzo a rest late in the game.
Move to the bottom of the ninth with the Dodgers leading 9-3. Enter Kenley Jansen, even though it’s a non save situation. Jansen retires Gosewisch on a pop-up. Chris Owings walks. Pollack walks. Jansen finally ends it by getting Adam Eaton to ground into a game ending double play. Ball game! The Dodgers win 9-3!
The Dodgers (87-64) redue their magic number to 2. Tomorrow could be the day the Dodgers finally clinch the division crown. We’re all anxious to see the club celebrate. The Dbacks asked the Dodgers to not come back on the field during their celebration, so the club will be in the clubhouse during the party. This is typical during road clinching. It’s time to do some seriousl clinching tomorrow guys! Clinching makes me feel good!!! The Dodgers go for the crown tomorrow night at 7:10 PM, as Stephen Fife counters Brandon McCarthy. Keep the bubbly on ice!