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Matt Kemp finds home run stroke again

The Dodgers left fielder snapped the second-longest home run drought of his career, giving the Dodgers some much needed production in a one-run victory.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp is back to playing every day again and he might just be finding his groove. For now, the Dodgers will take whatever they can get, including his 2-for-4 night and a home run to help beat the Diamondbacks on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

"He had a good series against Colorado, he struggled early against Cincinnati. He got a couple hits yesterday and to come here and get us going was good for us," said manager Don Mattingly. "We've struggled to score early, we've been behind a lot early."

The Dodgers scored first on Friday night thanks to Kemp's two-run home run, his first long ball since May 10. It was the first time in their last five home games that the Dodgers have scored first.

There is always the hope with Kemp — especially with his line-drive stroke and full extension on his swing during the home run — that he reverts back to anything close to the MVP-level player he was in 2011 or during his sublimely hot start in April 2012. He showed glimpses last July, though injuries dampened that quickly enough.

He showed even more glimpses again earlier this season when Kemp homered twice against San Francisco on Sunday Night Baseball, though the last two months have shown that Kemp wasn't quite all the way back yet. Now, banished from center field, Kemp has found a new home in left field, with Friday night his 16th straight start at the position.

With Kemp's two hits on Friday, he has five multi-hit games in his last seven contests, and since his 0-for-20 slump during the prolonged transition from center field to left, Kemp is hitting .318/.396/.523 with five extra-base hits in 13 games.

Perhaps another glimpse.

Kemp may never be all the way back, at least not the heights he reached three years ago. But it's nice to know that every once in a while there is still something there, because the Dodgers desperately need the production.

Up next

The Dodgers try to clinch the series win on Saturday night with Dan Haren on the mound facing off against Josh Collmenter for Arizona.