After hitting rock bottom over the weekend in Atlanta, the Dodgers pulled out the basics from the playbook for the series opener on Monday. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp shook off the cobwebs to back a cruising Clayton Kershaw in a 3-1 victory over the Brewers on Monday night at Miller Park.
After a weekend watching the bullpen get taxed and destroyed against the Braves, Kershaw was economical in his nine innings, needing just 107 pitches for the 10th complete game of his career. Kershaw allowed just three hits and a walk, and struck out five, lowering his major league best ERA to 1.35.
Kemp (.340) and Ethier (.369) entered Monday with slugging percentages at embarrassing levels, but were involved in all three Dodgers runs against Milwaukee.
Kemp led off the second with a walk, then scored on Ethier's line drive triple that seemed to confound right fielder Norichika Aoki. Ethier followed in the fourth by crushing a ball into the upper deck in right field.
Kemp in the sixth pulled a ball from Yovani Gallardo into the left field seats for his first home run since Apr. 24, snapping a string of 97 plate appearances without a long ball for Kemp. It was the first time Kemp and Ethier hit home runs in the same game since Apr. 14, 2012. Amazingly, as noted by Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Monday was just the second game this season that Kemp and Ethier have driven in a run in the same game.
Ethier and Kemp have homered in the same game 17 times in their career. The Dodgers are 15-2 in those games.
Zack Greinke makes his return to Milwaukee on Tuesday, putting his undefeated record in Miller Park on the line in the second game of the series. Rookie righty Hiram Burgos gets the call for Milwaukee.
Home runs: Andre Ethier (4), Matt Kemp (2);
Aramis Ramirez (4) strike two
WP - Clayton Kershaw (5-2): 9 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
LP - Yovani Gallardo (3-4): 6 IP, 8 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts