|L.A. Dodgers (12-3) «||0||1||0||0||0||2||0||2||0||5||8||0|
So far the star slugger is doing a great job of doing just that.
Kemp set a franchise record for home runs through 15 games with his ninth of the season to back up a solid outing by Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers got a 5-1 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
"I'm just trying to do good for my team and just trying to get wins and put us on the map again," Kemp said. "When teams come in they have to strap it up and get ready because we're going to try our best to go beat you guys."
Kemp's two-run shot to center field in the sixth inning off Kyle Weiland (0-3) scored Dee Gordon, extending the lead to 3-0 and giving him a home run in three straight games. It also extended his major league-leading RBI total to 22 and his hitting streak to 10 games.
Kemp is hitting .556 with seven homers and 13 RBIs since his streak began.
James Loney gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a two-out homer to the second deck in right field.
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Kershaw (1-0), the NL Cy Young winner, struck out nine and allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings for his first win this season after no decisions in his first three games this year. The victory extends his career-long winning streak to nine games, dating back to an Aug. 13, 2011 win over the Astros.
He was happy with the results on a night where he didn't feel like he had his best stuff.
"I didn't have great fastball command tonight," Kershaw said. "I struggled with my fastball. I didn't exactly know where it was going all the time. I was fortunate to get some outs here and there. It was a battle tonight. It didn't come easy, but you're going to have those nights."
Kemp, who had three hits including a two-run homer on Friday night, struck out in the first inning and jawed with the home plate umpire for a bit after he struck out again -- this time looking -- in the fourth.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said his team had trouble seeing the ball early in the game because of shadows on the field with the roof of Minute Maid Park open. The offense heated up after the sun went down.
Gordon had a bunt single with one out in the sixth and later advanced to third on a throwing error by Weiland. Kemp's first-pitch homer came with two outs and was his first of the season that wasn't an opposite-field shot to right.
"I did the exact opposite of what we wanted," Weiland said of Kemp's homer. "Coming out there in that situation, you can't give him anything close to hit. I dropped my elbow a little bit there and the pitch just spun up there. I knew it as soon as I threw it I was going to be in trouble."
Gordon doubled with two outs in the eighth before consecutive walks by Adam Kennedy and Kemp. Andre Ethier's two RBI single pushed his RBI total to 21, which is second in the majors, and left the Dodgers up 5-0.
"I've just got to keep pace with him somehow," Ethier said of Kemp. "If you're going to be chasing anyone, that's the guy to be chasing. If I stay close to him, I know I'm doing pretty good myself."
Kershaw allowed a single with one out in the second, but didn't allow another hit until a ground-rule double by Matt Downs with two outs in the fifth. He intentionally walked Chris Snyder before Weiland grounded into a force out to end that inning.
Houston's only other hit off Kershaw came on a single by J.D. Martinez with two outs in the sixth.
Justin Maxwell singled off Mike MacDougal with one out in the eighth before he walked Jordan Schafer and Jose Altuve to load the bases. Kenley Jansen replaced him and walked Martinez to get Houston within 5-1.
Carlos Lee popped out before Kemp snagged a long fly ball hit by Jed Lowrie to end the threat.
Weiland got back on track after the early homer to Loney. Kershaw singled with one out in the third, but Weiland faced the minimum in that inning thanks to a double play. He sailed through the fourth before allowing a leadoff double to Juan Rivera and walking Loney in the fifth. His defense helped him get out of that inning with another double play.
Weiland yielded six hits and three runs -- both season lows -- with a season-high six strikeouts in seven innings.
|Matt Kemp sets a franchise record for home runs through 15 games with his ninth of the season. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Dee Gordon, SS||4||2||3||0||0||0||1||.232|
|Adam Kennedy, 2B||3||1||0||0||1||0||1||.077|
|Mike MacDougal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kenley Jansen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jamey Wright, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Kemp, CF||3||1||1||2||1||2||0||.474|
|Andre Ethier, RF||4||0||1||2||0||1||0||.293|
|Juan Rivera, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.271|
|Tony Gwynn Jr., LF||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.222|
|James Loney, 1B||3||1||1||1||1||0||3||.200|
|Justin Sellers, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.143|
|A.J. Ellis, C||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.222|
|Clayton Kershaw, P||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.333|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.240|
|2B - Dee Gordon (3, Cruz), Juan Rivera (3, Weiland)|
|HR - Matt Kemp (9, Weiland), James Loney (1, Weiland)|
|RBI - Matt Kemp 2 (22), Andre Ethier 2 (21), James Loney (4)|
|2-OUT RBI - Matt Kemp 2 (9), Andre Ethier 2 (15), James Loney (2)|
|CS - Dee Gordon (3, 2nd base by Weiland/Snyder)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Sellers-Kennedy-Loney|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Clayton Kershaw (W,1-0)||7||3||0||0||2||9||0||1.61|
|Kenley Jansen (H,4)||0.2||0||0||0||1||0||0||3.38|
|IBB - Snyder by Clayton Kershaw|
|Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Kershaw 104-61, Mike MacDougal 17-8, Kenley Jansen 16-10, Jamey Wright 16-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Kershaw 7-4, Mike MacDougal 1-0, Jamey Wright 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Clayton Kershaw 25, Mike MacDougal 4, Kenley Jansen 3, Jamey Wright 3|
|Jordan Schafer, CF||3||0||0||0||1||3||0||.264|
|Jose Altuve, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.327|
|J.D. Martinez, LF||2||0||1||1||2||1||0||.340|
|Carlos Lee, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||5||.233|
|Jed Lowrie, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.226|
|Chris Johnson, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||3||1||.263|
|Matt Downs, RF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.200|
|David Carpenter, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Wilton Lopez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Marwin Gonzalez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.235|
|Chris Snyder, C||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.091|
|b- Brian Bogusevic, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.195|
|Kyle Weiland, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.000|
|Rhiner Cruz, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Justin Maxwell, RF||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.250|
|a-lined out for Lopez in the 9th|
|b-grounded out for Snyder in the 9th|
|2B - Matt Downs (2, Kershaw)|
|RBI - J.D. Martinez (13)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Lowrie-Lee, Lowrie-Altuve-Lee, Snyder-Lowrie-Lee|
|E - Kyle Weiland (2, Throwing)|
|Kyle Weiland (L,0-3)||7||6||3||3||1||6||2||6.62|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Weiland 105-63, Rhiner Cruz 18-6, David Carpenter 17-8, Wilton Lopez 12-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Weiland 7-5, Rhiner Cruz 1-0, Wilton Lopez 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Kyle Weiland 25, Rhiner Cruz 4, David Carpenter 4, Wilton Lopez 3|
|Attendance - 25562|
|Game Time - 3:02|
|Temperature - 73|
|Umpires - Home - D.J. Reyburn, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Tom Hallion|