Matt Kemp did his thing again and the Dodgers made it hold up, taking the opener of a three-game series in Houston 3-1 against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Kemp homered in the first inning off J.A. Happ, driving an outside pitch for yet another opposite field shot. Kemp's eight home runs through 14 games ties Wally Moon (1961) for the most in Dodgers franchise history, per the Elias Sports Bureau. The last major leaguer to have at least eight home runs through 14 games was Alex Rodriguez, who had 10 home runs through 14 games for the New York Yankees in 2007.
But Kemp also walked and had a pair of singles, and on the season is hitting a mere .481/.525/1.000 on the season, with a major league best 20 RBI. Yes, that is a 1.000 slugging percentage.
Ted Lilly had a weird start. He walked six, including one intentionally, his high most in 47 starts as a Dodger. It was the most walks for Lilly since walking six as a Blue Jay on April 8, 2006. But he also struck out five including striking out Carlos Lee for the first time in 56 plate appearances. Lilly walked a tightrope but allowed just one run and four hits in six innings.
Lilly, who led the majors last year with 35 stolen bases allowed, gave up his first two steals of 2012, and it cost him his only run. Brian Bogusevic stole second with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning and scored on a single by Chris Snyder. Jose Altuve stole second base one inning later but was stranded at third thanks to the fourth outstanding defensive play by Jerry Hairston Jr. at third base in a seven-inning span over the last two games, an inning-ending stab and dive toward the bag for a force out.
The deadly trio of Josh Lindblom, Kenley Jansen, and Javy Guerra combined for three scoreless innings to close out the game, with one hit, one walk, and six strikeouts.
- Kemp now has 20 RBI on the season, a mark he has reached in five of the last seven baseball calendar months. In the two months Kemp didn't drive in 20 (April 2011 and August 2011), Kemp had 19 RBI.
- The last Dodgers pitcher, before Lilly Friday night, to walk six and still get a win was Randy Wolf, on June 28, 2007.
Javy Guerra's seven saves are the most ever by a Dodger through 14 games, one more than Takashi Saito had in 2007.
Eovaldi Just A Precaution
The Dodgers pulled Nathan Eovaldi from his Double A start Thursday night after just one inning as a precaution in case he needed to start in place of Chad Billingsley on Sunday. Manager Don Mattingly told reporters on Friday that Billingsley was having groin issues, but was able to pitch a bullpen session pain free on Friday, and is good to start Sunday.
The Dodgers and Astros hook up again on Saturday night, with Clayton Kershaw still in search of his first win of the season, with loads of family and friends in attendance. Last Saturday, the Dodgers faced Joseph Wieland of San Diego, and one week later the Dodgers face Kyle Weiland.
Home Runs: Matt Kemp (8)
WP - Ted Lilly (2-0): 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts
LP - J.A. Happ (1-1): 6 IP, 8 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts
Sv - Javy Guerra (7): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts