The Matt Kemp from the first half of the season made an appearance Saturday night in the eighth inning. After struggling through August and only hitting one home run in his last 31 games, the Dodger outfielder came through in a big way.
Down 2-0 with two men on, Kemp absolutely smashed an 82-mph hanger over the plate from Archie Bradley into the bleachers in left center. Kenley Jansen would make that 3-2 lead stand up as the Dodgers move into a tie for first place in the National League West.
Not in @TheRealMattKemp's house. pic.twitter.com/AGwTi16FMN— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 2, 2018
Before Kemp stepped into the batter’s box, the Dodgers had been 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers needed it, Kemp badly needed it, just like Jansen needed the scoreless ninth.
Kike Hernandez chipped in some ridiculous glove work to get the first out of that ninth.
With the Rockies lurking a half game behind, the division tightens up that much more with 26 games to go for Los Angeles.
Clayton Kershaw has now faced the Diamondbacks four times this season. In each of those four games, the lefty has held Arizona to two runs or less, giving up just seven runs total in 26 innings of work.
Kershaw lasted seven innings for the fourth straight start, allowing just four hits and no walks to give his club a chance.
Staying with the theme of the series, the Dbacks scored both of their runs by way of the home run. Eduardo Escobar launched his 20th of the year in the second and Christian Walker padded the lead with one of his own leading off the sixth.
It was the second long ball of the year for Walker — both coming off Kershaw as a pinch-hitter.
The two teams have combined for fourteen runs over the three games, 13 of the 14 have come from homers.
The Dodgers and Dbacks finish out the four-game series Sunday afternoon. Walker Buehler (6-4, 3.02) will take the ball against the surprising Clay Buchholz (7-2, 2.07).
Home runs: Escobar (20), Walker (2), Kemp (19)
WP - Kenta Maeda (8-8): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
LP - Archie Bradley (4-5): 1⁄3 IP, 2 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
SV - Kenley Jansen (34): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout