A pair of two-run home runs by Mark Ellis and Hanley Ramirez led the Dodgers on Tuesday night, as they held for a 6-5 victory over the Giants at Dodger Stadium. On a night that saw the return of Matt Kemp, the suddenly more robust lineup produced 11 hits and led the Dodgers to their first four-game winning streak of the season.
It wasn't without some major heartache though, as the Dodgers took a 6-3 lead into the ninth inning. Kenley Jansen was unavailable after pitching three straight days so the Dodgers turned to Brandon League, who retired none of the three batters he faced. He left with a 6-5 lead and a runner on base, but Paco Rodriguez - after allowing a single of his own - retired the final three Giants in order to close out the win.
The final out was a sprawling catch by Kemp in center field at the warning track, a fitting way to end an exciting game.
Mike Kickham retired the first six Dodgers he faced in just his second big league start, but Tim Federowicz led off the third inning with a double down the left field line. Two outs later, Mark Ellis drove one into the bullpen seats for a 2-0 Dodgers lead.
The Dodgers' leadoff position has hit 10 home runs this season, more than any other spot in the batting order. Carl Crawford has five of those home runs, Yasiel Puig has four, and Ellis on Tuesday hit the 10th.
After the Giants tied it with single runs in the fourth and fifth inning, Hanley Ramirez blasted a two-run shot off the foul pole in left field for a 4-2 lead. Ramirez has an eight-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .467 (14-for-30) with four home runs and 10 RBI.
Kemp singled after the Ramirez homer, then later scored on a single by Federowicz, then a wild pitch brought home another run for a 6-2 advantage. Kemp in his first game back was 1-for-4 with a run scored.
Stephen Fife continued his solid run in the rotation by matching a career high with 6⅔ innings pitched. He allowed a home run to Brandon Belt in the seventh to cut the lead to 6-3, but settled for his third quality start in his last four outings. Fife for just the second time in 11 big league starts allowed more than two runs.
Fife also picked up his second major league win.
Puig went 0-for-4, tying his longest run of consecutive plate appearances without a hit.
For Rodriguez, it was his first major league save.
The Dodgers go for the sweep on Wednesday night with Clayton Kershaw facing off against Tim Lincecum for the sixth time, and their first encounter since 2011.
Home runs: Mark Ellis (4), Hanley Ramirez (5); Buster Posey (9), Brandon Belt (8)
WP - Stephen Fife (2-2): 6⅔ IP, 4 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
LP - Mike Kickham (0-2): 5⅓ IP, 8 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 5 strikeouts
Sv - Paco Rodrigez (1): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout