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Dodgers' running game alive and well

The Sports Xchange
Roster Report · Dodgers' running game alive and well · Notes, Quotes

This was exactly what the Dodgers had in mind when they brought beloved former second baseman Davey Lopes back to the organization as its first-base coach in charge of the running game.

Matt Kemp stole five bases, Tony Gwynn Jr. stole three and the Dodgers were 10-for-10 as a team against the Padres over the weekend. They won two of three games, dropping the series finale 7-2 to the Padres on Sunday.

Maybe some of it was Padres catchers Nick Hundley (29 percent last year) and Rob Johnson (35 percent last year), or the Padres pitchers not holding runners on very well.

But either way, the Dodgers ran at will.

Casey Blake and Matt Kemp executed a double steal in the fourth inning Friday night, with Blake the lead runner, and an errant throw by Johnson to second base after the faster runner, allowed Blake to score a run.

Kemp stole second and third base in the first inning Saturday.

Gwynn began Sunday's game with a four-pitch walk, stole second base on the first pitch to No. 2 hitter Aaron Miles, went to third on Miles' bunt, and scored on an Andre Ethier slow grounder to the pitcher because he was going on contact.

Kemp and Gwynn have the green light, and Lopes will either give them a yellow light or a brighter green light.

"Davey is always talking to them about moves, and keys to the (pitcher) out there," manager Don Mattingly said. "We're going to try taking advantage of what we see. Those two guys have above-average speed and can steal bags. They've worked with Davey on reading keys and not just guessing. They're paying attention when to go."

Kemp's fifth steal of the weekend came in the seventh, down 4-1, and ignited a near comeback. James Loney followed with a comebacker. Kemp was too aggressive and was caught in the middle, but pitcher Aaron Harang threw way over the head of third baseman Jorge Cantu for an error that allowed Kemp to score.

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