After delay, Kemp powers Dodgers' win
Two-run homer lifts LA after stoppage because of lights
ARLINGTON -- Once the lights came on, the Dodgers' offense started to hit. And Matt Kemp, stuck in the bottom of the order and not thrilled about it, led the way.After the game was delayed after five scoreless innings because a bank of lights along the first-base line shorted, Kemp hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to help the Dodgers win, 3-1, over the Rangers on Saturday.
"I never hit ninth before, but it was pretty good today," Kemp said. "It's no big deal. It's like being a leadoff hitter. It's always nice to hit a home run."The ninth slot suited Kemp well -- he went 2-for-3. Kemp has homered in three of his past five road games. His two-run shot was his first home run this season that wasn't a solo shot or grand slam. Kemp joked he didn't come through with a big hit in Friday's loss to the Rangers because of the ominous lightning. "I wasn't scared [Saturday]," he said. "The lightning wasn't there." His home run went an estimated 427 feet into the Dodgers' bullpen in deep left-center field. It was his third go-ahead home run of the season. The Dodgers entered Saturday with two consecutive losses but avoided losing three straight for the first time all season. "It shows how good we are," Kemp said. Because of the broken lights, several players said it was difficult to pick up the ball in the outfield as well as at the plate. A breaker shorted, shutting off a bank of lights along the first-base line. They had been out the entire night, but home plate umpire Charlie Reliford paused the game while they were being repaired. After a delay of one hour and 41 minutes, the game resumed. It was something Dodgers manager Joe Torre remembered happening only once in his career. He was playing with the Cardinals in Montreal. "I remember putting the bat on the plate and the lights went out," Torre said. "The pitcher was in the windup, so I just dove." Once the lights came back, Juan Pierre led off the sixth inning with a single. He stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Rafael Furcal grounded out to short to score Pierre for the first run of the game. "Wolfie wasn't going back out there, and we wanted to get him the win," Pierre said of starter Randy Wolf. "It seemed to get the offense going." Former Dodger Andruw Jones hit a home run in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score, 1-1. He said the shot wasn't any more important because it came against the club that released him in the offseason. Wolf took the no-decision despite being on pace for one of his best pitching performances of the season. He allowed no runs and only three baserunners over five innings, throwing just 67 pitches. "It was one of those things you can't control," Wolf said. "You just have to deal with it. I stayed ready in hopes they would fix it quickly, but after 30-45 minutes, you can't do that." Despite a sterling 3.41 ERA in 2009, he only has three wins on the season. "You usually have one of those guys who just doesn't get wins every season," Pierre said. "But he's a professional. We're hoping to get some wins for him." Torre shared Pierre's frustration for his pitcher. "Wolfie pitched a good game," he said. "He would've had the win if we held onto that lead." This was just the third time in 14 starts Wolf had thrown fewer than six innings. Scott Feldman started for the Rangers and matched Wolf zero for zero. He threw 57 pitches, 40 for strikes, over five innings. The win improved the Dodgers to 18-13 on the road. They still have the best record in the Majors at 41-22.
Daniel Paulling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.