video thumbnail

LAD@CIN: Kemp collects three hits and six RBIs

CINCINNATI -- The Dodgers played long ball (two homers and six RBIs from Matt Kemp) and little ball (seven hits from Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles) and had a ball in their happiest win of the year Saturday.

The maligned offense that scored one run Friday night erased a five-run deficit in the eighth inning, keyed by Kemp's grand slam, then turned it on again for four more runs in the 11th inning and an improbable 11-8 win over the Reds.

"How about that one?" said manager Don Mattingly, who held a team meeting before the game to remind his club, in the throes of an injury siege, that it's only June and anything can happen.

The Dodgers then proved his point, going 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Kemp, trying to make good on his promise of a 40/40 season, slugged his 14th and 15th home runs while setting a career-best for RBIs. He has a team-high 46, 19 more than runner-up Andre Ethier, whose walk against lefty reliever Bill Bray preceded Kemp's slam and was singled out by Mattingly and Reds manager Dusty Baker as the key at-bat.

Kemp credited Mattingly's calm hand for keeping the club from losing hope in the wake of endless injuries and a shortage of runs.

"Donnie's a very positive person, and I'm sure we took something from that [meeting]," said Kemp. "All of us rub off [on] each other. That's the character of our team. It's the best team I've ever been on with everybody getting along and hanging out."

Miles, who played with Albert Pujols in St. Louis, watches Kemp in amazement and doesn't mind comparing the two.

"It's funny, Albert goes through power stretches to all fields, like Matty, and he plays at the new Busch, which isn't as forgiving as the old one," said Miles. "They have power gap to gap. They are real similar like that. When they hit balls, they get that carry.

"Matty is on the way to the prime of his career, and you're not sure where the ceiling is. You look at him and you see Andre Dawson and Pujols, power guys that scare the other team. He can hit it out of any park. He does it in L.A., and it's hard to find anybody in the big leagues who has the pop from park to park and can do all the other things he can do. And he's just getting better and better."

Kemp also is batting .318, with a team-high 14 steals, a .576 slugging percentage and .971 OPS.

Miles likely loses playing time Sunday with the return of Juan Uribe, but if so, he goes back to the bench with a flourish. Like Carroll, Miles scored in the eighth- and 11th-inning rallies. He drove in three runs and scored twice.

When he saw the lineup, he was pleased to see his and Carroll's name at the top.

"Turning it over to the Midget Mafia," he said of the mini-middle infielders.

Carroll, again the starter at shortstop with Rafael Furcal's latest trip to the disabled list, went 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI, raising his average to .301.

"It's a great win, a great win, to come back late like that" Carroll said. "Hopefully something can come out of that for us. It's a win we haven't been getting."

Dodgers rookie reliever Javy Guerra pitched out of a 10th-inning jam to earn his first Major League win.

The Reds scored four runs in the sixth inning off starter Clayton Kershaw and chased him during a three-run rally in the seventh that left the Dodgers trailing, 7-2. Kershaw was charged with six runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Yet, Kershaw struck out six of the first 11 batters he faced before Joey Votto broke up a perfect game with a line single to left field, only to get picked off by Kershaw to end the fourth inning. Then Kershaw struck out the side in the fifth, giving him nine strikeouts in 15 batters.

But over his final 1 2/3 innings, Kershaw faced 11 batters, allowing five hits with two walks and no strikeouts.

Ramon Hernandez led off the bottom of the sixth with a sharp single to left. One out later, opposing pitcher Johnny Cueto bunted Hernandez to second. Kershaw then walked Drew Stubbs on a 3-2 slider, Kershaw angrily bouncing off the mound.

Brandon Phillips tied the game with a looping single into right field, putting runners on the corners and bringing up Votto. Kershaw got ahead, 1-2, then hung a slider that Votto rocketed into the right-field bleachers. Three of the four batters Kershaw faced in the seventh reached base, leading to his removal.

Mattingly said Kershaw had to have wilted from the 91-degree heat and humidity, although Kershaw said he "felt great" and blamed his pitching.

"I just hung a slider for a three-run homer," he said. "All the other hits were singles. I can't throw that pitch right there. I've got to get it down."

Said Reds outfielder Jay Bruce: "For me, he was as good as it gets. He was throwing 92, 94 with that slider. He's definitely harder for me now that he's throwing that slider to lefties more than his curveball. He's in good shape, man. He's young, he's got good stuff.

"But it's weird. I was telling somebody else in the dugout, I've seen what happened to him today happen multiple times. A little later in the game he starts unraveling a little bit, and I wonder what it is. I don't know. But he always starts out going strong. When he's going right, he's as good as it gets." Comments