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SF@LAD: Kemp goes first to third on a groundout

LOS ANGELES -- Thirty years after he last helped the Dodgers win, Davey Lopes is at it again.

The unbeaten Dodgers were heaping love on their former All-Star second baseman, now returned as first-base coach, for instilling the aggressiveness that contributed to another win over the defending World Series champion Giants on Friday night, this time a 4-3 comeback with a three-run sixth inning.

Matt Kemp had the memorable play in the winning rally, hustling from first to third on a groundout, and before the inning was over, the sloppy Giants had gifted the Dodgers two more unearned runs to go with the one that helped beat them on Thursday's Opening Day.

"Davey has had a lot to do with it," manager Don Mattingly said of his first-base coach and executive vice president of wreaking havoc on the bases. "We put a lot of time and effort into it. We didn't just touch on it and leave it alone, he pretty much did it every day. That's how you get a cheap run."

Kemp -- who went 2-for-4 with an RBI double -- also praised Lopes, whose longtime friend and former teammate, Dave Stewart, is Kemp's agent.

"Davey helped me a lot on the bases," said Kemp, who was Lopes' priority project this spring, along with upgrading the entire club's approach to running the bases. "I continue to learn every day. Sometimes you take chances and that's the chance I took. That's an instinct thing. My instincts were on point today. We talked about that in Spring Training, trying to take the extra base and stealing a run."

Errors by third baseman Pablo Sandoval and losing starter Jonathan Sanchez wiped out a 3-1 lead provided by Giants rookie Brandon Belt's first career home run, a three-run shot off starter Chad Billingsley, pitching well enough for six innings to win in his first start after signing a three-year contract extension.

Rafael Furcal capped the winning rally with a two-out RBI single off former teammate Guillermo Mota.

With Hong-Chih Kuo off-limits after making 22 pitches Thursday, Blake Hawksworth was brought in for the seventh inning. He created a bases-loaded jam and escaped by striking out Buster Posey. Matt Guerrier got a sliding catch from Kemp to avoid a mess in the eighth and Jonathan Broxton picked up his second consecutive save, looking like a two-time All-Star with a 97-mph fastball in a nine-pitch perfect ninth inning.

Kemp gave the Dodgers a third-inning lead, but Sanchez dug the hole himself. He walked Billingsley on five pitches leading off the inning and, with one out, Ivan De Jesus in his Major League debut battled back from a 1-2 count for a walk.

Andre Ethier lined out to right field, allowing Billingsley to tag to third, and Kemp followed with a one-hop ground-rule double that bounced over the fence in left-center. De Jesus, forced to stop at third, was stranded there when Marcus Thames struck out.

"Matt set the tone, got us all fired up," said Billingsley. "He got our confidence going and the guys just feed off each other."

Mattingly was asked about Kemp's apparent improvement from last year, which was a wild ride for the center fielder.

"We talk about Matt like everything was bad," said Mattingly. "He's pretty darn good. What we want is guys who get better as players. He hasn't been all bad."

The Giants took the lead in the fourth inning. Posey, who also killed a rally with a first-inning double-play grounder, singled. After Pat Burrell lined out to left, Sandoval singled Posey to second and Belt followed with his home run to straightaway center field.

Kemp led off the sixth inning with a single. On a hit-and-run, Thames bounced to third baseman Sandoval. Kemp, approaching second base and seeing Sandoval winding up for the throw to first, turned on the jets rounding second and just beat first baseman Belt's throw back to Sandoval at third. That put Kemp in position to score on James Loney's sacrifice fly.

Kemp said he hesitated slightly at second base because "I didn't want him to pump-fake me and get me out," he said. "That would be all bad."

Rod Barajas lined a two-out single to left, and Aaron Miles, starting at third base in place of the injured Juan Uribe, hit a nubber toward third base. Sandoval barehanded the ball and threw it away, Barajas taking third and Miles second. Hector Gimenez, batting for Billingsley, tapped one back to the box but Sanchez fumbled the ball as Barajas scored to tie the game.

"We're just shooting ourselves in the foot," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "It's pretty simple. That's an easy play for Sanchez. He just whiffed on it. ... Games like this, you need to play well defensively. Right now, we're not."

Bochy replaced Sanchez with Mota, who was greeted by Furcal's tiebreaking single to right. Comments