YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Matt Kemp spoils Rockies' tactic and delivers in Dodgers' 8-2 win

Outfielder hits a two-run single after Colorado intentionally walks Andre Ethier. Kemp also has a two-run home run and Casey Blake hits a three-run shot.

May 31, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez

The game is in the third inning and your team trails by a run.

There is one out. Men are on second and third. Andre Ethier is at the plate. Matt Kemp is on deck.

What do you do?

Here's what Colorado Rockies Manager Jim Tracy did Tuesday night: He walked Ethier to pitch to Kemp, a decision for which he paid dearly when the center fielder singled to left field to drive in two runs.

Kemp knocked in four of the Dodgers' runs in an 8-2 victory over the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, two of them in the first inning with his 13th home run.

"Apparently, they weren't too hurt by the two-run home run," third baseman Casey Blake said.

Turning serious, Blake continued: "That's a tough situation for a manager right there. Two great hitters coming up. It's pick your poison."

The Dodgers extended their winning streak to three games, equaling the longest of the season. Offensively paralyzed for most of the season, they have scored 23 runs in the three games. In the nine games before that, they scored 25.

Manager Don Mattingly rested Rafael Furcal and Rod Barajas, but it didn't matter, especially with the Rockies playing their worst baseball in what is turning into a shockingly bad season for them.

The Rockies, who started 11-2, were passed in the win column by the Dodgers. Once the widespread favorite to win the National League West title, Tracy's team has lost 10 of its last 12 games.

The Dodgers suddenly find themselves four games under .500 but somehow only 41/2 games back of the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks.

Seven Dodgers had hits Tuesday. The two starting position players who were hitless, Ethier and Dioner Navarro, each drew walks. (Ethier drew two, including the intentional one by starter Clayton Mortensen.)

Blake, who was activated from the disabled list Friday, had a home run and a double. Aaron Miles had a run-scoring double.

In all, the Dodgers had nine hits.

Starting pitcher Ted Lilly said he isn't surprised by the lineup's recent production.

"I don't think this is necessarily a hot streak," Lilly said. "I think we're pretty good."

Lilly (4-4) did his part, holding the Rockies to two runs and four hits in seven innings. He struck out eight, a season high.

"It's been par for the course, honestly," Mattingly said. "All year, long, we've been getting good pitching. Over the last few days, we've put some runs on the board. If we can do that consistently, we're going to be tough."

Blake said Ethier and Kemp are the keys to the Dodgers' offense.

"When they're swinging the bats well, we're putting up some runs," Blake said. "We kind of go how they go."

Asked what went through his mind when Tracy elected to walk Ethier to pitch to him with the Dodgers leading, 2-1, Kemp said, "Just do my job and drive in some runs, as simple as that."

Kemp said he thought that Tracy might have avoided the left-handed Ethier because Mortensen is right-handed.

"It might be the right move, it might be the wrong move," Kemp said.

What about the home run Kemp hit earlier?

"I can't really explain it," Kemp said. "I'm not a manager."

Los Angeles Times Articles