Matt Kemp wasn’t supposed to last long in his return to Los Angeles. He was tabbed as trade bait after arriving from Atlanta in exchange for a salary dump by the Dodgers.
The 33-year-old slugger has made himself at home again in a hurry.
Kemp got three hits and drove in four runs Shane Doan Jersey
, including a go-ahead homer leading off the eighth inning that rallied the Dodgers past the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Sunday to prevent a sweep and end a three-game skid.
Kemp is on track to earn his third All-Star nod and first since 2012. He’s the second-leading vote-getter, ahead of Washington’s Bryce Harper, among NL outfielders.
”That’s what the All-Star Game is, having a good first half,” Kemp said. ”My real focus is trying to get to the playoffs and win a championship, something I’ve never done.”
Kemp was 1 for 6 in the first two games of the series, which the Dodgers lost by identical scores of 3-1. He has been solid in his last 14 games against Colorado, batting .438 with 11 RBIs.
”He showed in spring training he was in shape and was hitting from the start,” Dodgers starter Ross Stripling said.
Kemp sent his 14th homer of the season over the center-field wall off Adam Ottavino (4-2) to put Los Angeles ahead 5-4. It was the Dodgers’ first homer of July after they hit a major league-leading and franchise-record 55 in June.
One out later, Yasiel Puig doubled. Joc Pederson followed and reached on an infield single to second that DJ LeMahieu dived to stop. Puig made a heads-up baserunning play when he scored an insurance run after taking an extra base on Pederson’s hit.
Puig took advantage of LeMahieu’s soft throw from his knees to first baseman Ian Desmond.
”DJ slipped,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”If DJ wanted to do it over again he would probably give a firmer throw to Desmond to get it back in.”
Puig hopped back and forth before taking off for the plate, sliding belly first. He got up and swung his arms in wild celebration with the Dodgers ahead 6-4.
”I do my crazy move and score,” Puig said. ”I said in my mind, `He’s not going to throw me out, I’m going home.’ Not too many players who score from third base in that situation.”
Kemp agreed, saying, ”Everyone is living right.”
Kemp drove in the Dodgers’ first three runs with an RBI groundout in the first, a double in the third and a single in the fifth.
Daniel Hudson (3-2) went one inning. Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.
Nolan Arenado hit his team-leading 21st homer and had an RBI grounder, helping the Rockies take a 4-2 lead in the fifth.
Rockies starter Chad Bettis was pulled after three innings because of fluid underneath a callus on his right middle finger. The right-hander allowed two runs and three hits, struck out two and walked two in his shortest outing of the season.
”It is really painful,” Bettis said. ”It is kind of something that is a little bit of a mental block trying to battle through that pain. I felt like it got to the point where I really needed to say something.”
Stripling gave up four runs and a season-high nine hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one.
Rockies: RHP Bryan Shaw (right calf strain) will throw a bullpen session on Monday and simulated game on Wednesday. He is working on mechanics with his delivery and more consistent pitch locations.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (7-6, 3.29 ERA) makes his second straight start against the Giants on Monday in the home opener of a three-game set. He is 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA at Coors Field in his career against them.
Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (4-5, 4.00) starts on Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Pirates. In eight games (seven starts) against them, Wood is 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA.
The biggest hit of Noel Cuevas‘ young major league career was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt.
The Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners were tied at 1 in the seventh inning Saturday, and the Rockies had two men on and one out when Cuevas came to the plate as the No. 9 hitter. He got the sign for a safety squeeze, but fouled off his first bunt attempt.
Instead, Cuevas hit the next pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run homer, giving the Rockies the lead in what would be a 5-1 win.
”I wasn’t happy at that moment that I missed it. We were trying to get that run in Russell Shepard Jersey
,” Cuevas said. ”Next pitch, I can’t remember I just missed a bunt. I need to make sure I’m ready for that pitch and that was it.”
It was the second career home run for Cuevas, who was called up to the Rockies on April 22, and his first since May 14. The three RBI set a career high, and he tied his best mark with three hits in the game. He also had another sacrifice attempt turn into an infield hit to load the bases in the third inning.
Cuevas wasn’t the only one at the bottom of Colorado’s order to have a big day. The Rockies’ No. 6-9 hitters combined to go 9 for 14 with five RBIs.
”All those guys, every one of their at-bats from pitch one, they were ready to hit,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. ”That’s what I saw, all of them.”
The Rockies won their fifth straight despite facing Seattle’s best starter, James Paxton (8-3). Although Paxton was again overpowering at times, striking out nine, he lost for the second time in three starts. He allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings – marking the third time in four starts Paxton allowed at least that many runs and hits.
”I felt really good today. I had good stuff, I felt like I threw the ball well,” he said. ”It was really good other than that one pitch.”
The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Gonzalez. Segura’s seventh homer tied the score in the fifth.
Reliever Scott Oberg (2-0) earned the win by throwing a perfect sixth inning, striking out two.
Colorado starter Kyle Freeland left after five innings, allowing one run and five hits. It was Freeland’s shortest outing since going four innings on April 18 – he had pitched into the sixth inning or later in his previous 13 starts.
Rockies: Colorado recalled INF/OF Jordan Patterson and LHP Jerry Vasto from Triple-A Albuquerque, and C Tom Murphy – who returned to Denver on Friday to be with his wife, Lindsay, for the birth of their second child – was placed on the paternity list.
Mariners: Seattle recalled OF John Andreoli from Triple-A Tacoma and optioned RHP Nick Rumbelow to Tacoma. Andreoli started in left field Saturday and struck out twice before being replaced by Ben Gamel in the sixth.
Rockies: LHP Mike Dunn was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to July 4 with AC joint inflammation. Colorado manager Bud Black said it was unclear how long Dunn might be out. … SS Trevor Story was scratched from the starting lineup with a bruised right foot.
Mariners: Mitch Haniger was back in the starting lineup at right field after missing two games with a bruised right knee. … 2B Dee Gordon was out of the starting lineup after hurting his hip on a play at the plate on Friday, but manager Scott Servais said it was just a day off and the injury wasn’t serious. Gordon entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth and popped out to left field.
Before the game, Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano talked with the media about his 80-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug agreement, saying it was the most difficult thing he’s dealt with in his life outside of the death of his grandfather. Cano is eligible to return on August 14, but is ineligible for postseason play and Gordon has excelled defensively at second base in Cano’s absence.
”I’m focused on bringing a title to Seattle so I would do whatever it takes to help this team to win,” Cano said. ”At the same time I understand I’m not going to be able to play in the playoffs so you got to give a chance to Dee to go out and play because when we get to the playoffs he’s going to have to come back and play second base.”
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-1, 4.44 ERA) is making his second start after starting the year in the Colorado bullpen. In his first start on Tuesday against the Giants, Senzatela pitched seven scoreless innings.
Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc (4-0, 3.19) will make his 13th start of the season. He allowed one run on three hits in seven innings his last time out against the Angels.