Matt Kemp still has the hearts of Los Angeles, and he once again was the hero on Wednesday night as the Dodgers won their fifth consecutive game. Kemp had three hits including a big homerun in the second (his third homerun in the last two games) and the walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth. With the trade deadline approaching on Thursday, rumors and rumblings about Kemp have suddenly turned into Kemp pride and praise.
Zack Greinke pitched another fantastic start, and the ace struck out 13 batters in eight dominant innings of work. Unfortunately he did not pick up the win, but Greinke has been nothing short of spectacular this season. Alex Wood, the young left-hander, pitched an almost equally strong outing for the Braves. The quirky delivery of his had the Dodgers guessing most of the night.
The Dodgers almost had this game in the bag 2-1 going into the ninth, but Kenley Jansen served up a monster homerun to Justin Upton for the blown save. It’s okay, Kenley. You are still great. J.P. Howell was able to pitch a scoreless tenth inning thanks to a great pick off tag by Dee Gordon to erase the other annoying Upton brother from the base path.
Justin Turner, pinch-hitter extraordinaire, once again came up clutch with a base hit in the home half of the tenth which segued into Matt Kemp’s walk-off single.
Beastmode is back.
Dodgers 3 11 1
Braves 2 6 1
WP- Howell (3-3)
LP- Hale (3-3)
HR- Kemp (11), J. Upton (19)
Golden Sombrero- B.J. Upton
Zack Greinke opens the first inning by striking out lead-off hitter B.J. Upton. Greinke quickly induces two groundouts from Tommy La Stella and Freddie Freeman to end the perfect inning. Greinke rubbed his calf in some discomfort on the mound, and he left to the clubhouse with Stan Conte after the top of the first.
Dee Gordon reaches safely on a throwing error by second baseman La Stella who throws wide of first baseman Freeman. With Adrian Gonzalez at the plate, Dee Gordon steals his 48th stolen base of the season. Gonzo and Hanley end up striking out against Alex Wood in the home half of the first, and Gordon is stranded at second.
The Braves get on the board first in the second inning. An Evan Gattis double to left field and a Andrelton single gives the Braves a 1-0 lead.
Bubbles are flowing in the Dodgers’ dugout after they tie it up 1-1 in the bottom of the second thanks to a Bison Blast by Matt Kemp! The lead-off homerun to left center field is the third homer for Kemp in the last two games.
Greinke pitches a 1-2-3 inning in the third while striking out two.
Gordon singles to right with one out in the bottom of the third. With Puig at bat, Gordon steals again. The Braves will challenge the play, and upon review the call is overturned and Gordon is out on the tag by La Stella. Yasiel Puig draws a two-out walk, but Gonzo strikes out a second time to end the inning.
In the fourth, Justin Upton hits a ground-rule double down the left field line with one out. Gattis chases a bad ball for the second out. Chris Johnson grounds out to Uribe, and the Braves fail to cash in the Justin Upton double.
Hanley walks to lead off the bottom of the fourth, but the Dodgers can’t muster anything else off the funky delivery of Wood.
The Dodgers and Braves are locked into a pitcher’s duel, and Greinke shuts Atlanta down in order again in the top of the fifth while striking out two more batters.
A.J. Ellis leads off the bottom of the fifth with a single, and Zack Greinke successfully sacrifice bunts him over to second. Gordon singles up the middle, and La Stella makes a nice stop to prevent Ellis from scoring on the play. Wood gets Puig to pop up on a changeup for the second out. Gonzo grounds out to first to end the inning and strand A.J. at third.
Greinke strikes out B.J. Upton for the third time to open the sixth inning. La Stella singles, but Greinke comes back to strike out Freeman. Justin Upton singles to center, and he advances to second on an error by Yasiel Puig in center. Puig bobbles the ball, but it doesn’t end up being a costly mistake as Greinke strikes out Gattis to escape the jam and preserve the tie. That’s ten strikeouts for Zack.
Matt Kemp continues to excel with the bat, and he singles with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Scott Van Slyke quickly flies out to center. Uribe singles on a ball hit to second, and Matt Kemp makes it all the way to third beating out the throw. The Dodgers leave two more after Ellis strikes out, and the bubble machine is eerily quiet.
Greinke sends the Braves down in order in the seventh with a little help from Juan Uribe who makes another sparkling defensive play at third base to retire Simmons.
Wood finishes off his excellent start by retiring the Dodgers in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Alex Wood pitched 7 innings and allowed 1 run on 6 hits with 8 strikeouts and 2 walks on 114 pitches.
Greinke picks up his twelfth and thirteenth strikeouts as pinch-hitter Phillip Gosselin whiffs and B.J. Upton strikes out for the fourth time for the Golden Sombrero. Greinke walks La Stella with two outs, but Hanley spears a line drive by Freeman to end the inning!
Zack Greinke pitched 8 innings and allowed 1 run on 5 hits with 13 strikeouts and 1 walk on 110 pitches.
The Dodgers finally break the tie in the bottom of the eighth. Jordan Walden will come in to relieve Wood out of the Atlanta bullpen. Gonzo goes down on strikes for a third time. Hanley also strikes out. Matt Kemp draws a two-out walk, and Carl Crawford will hit for Scott Van Slyke. Crawford singles up the middle. Juan Uribe then singles up the middle, and even though Simmons makes a good stop, the tiebreaking run comes in as Kemp scores! 2-1 Dodgers. Crawford steals third with A.J. batting without so much as a throw from Gattis. A.J. walks to load the bases, and Walden has come undone with two outs here. Andre Ethier will pinch-hit for Greinke. Ethier strikes out on a check swing to end the inning.
Kenley Jansen will come in to try to shut down the Braves in the top of the ninth, but with one swing from Justin Upton, the Braves tie it up again. The monstrous homer to left field makes it 2-2. Well, that sure burst my bubble.
David Hale is the new Atlanta pitcher for the bottom of the ninth. Puig singles up the middle with one out. Adrian Gonzalez fails again, and he grounds into the inning ending double play to send the game into extras.
J.P. Howell will be the next Dodger pitcher for the top of the tenth. Howell walks the lead-off batter, Jordan Schafer. Ramiro Pena gets the bunt down, and Schafer moves over to second. With B.J. Upton at bat, Howell spins around and picks off Schafer at second with a great tag by Gordon! The Braves challenge the play, but the video review clearly shows he’s out. Howell ends up walking B.J. Upton who ends up stealing second base. Howell strikes out La Stella, and we head to the bottom of the tenth.
Justin Turner comes off the bench, and he singles up the middle to lead-off the bottom of the tenth off Hale. Turner takes second on a wild pitch with Matt Kemp at bat. Kemp then singles to left field, and Turner scores giving the Dodgers the walk-off win!
The Dodgers improve to 61-47, and they remain three games ahead of the Giants who finally broke their losing streak earlier in the day by defeating the Pirates. The series finale between the Dodgers and Braves on Thursday will feature Clayton Kershaw countering Julio Teheran.