Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp hits a two-run home run in the second inning… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)
For anyone who suspects the lack of a blistering start handicapped Matt Kemp’s MVP bid last season, Kemp is offering the beginning to his 2012.
Which kind of screams, get out of the way.
Kemp continued his torrid start Saturday night, hitting a pair of two-run homers, to power the Dodgers to a 6-1 victory over the Padres before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 46,549.
That would be the 8-1 Dodgers, owners of the best record in baseball. And even if all eight victories have come against the lowly Pirates and Padres, it’s starting to border on impressive.
The last time the Dodgers broke out to an 8-1 start came in 1981, when they only went on to win the World Series.
Saturday night the Dodgers got a masterful first start of the season from Ted Lilly. The left-hander had his first turn in the rotation skipped after developing a sore neck during spring training.
He looked plenty healthy against the Padres. Lilly held San Diego to one unearned run in seven innings. He gave up only two hits, walked one and struck out four.
Lilly surrendered the unearned run in the top of the first inning, but the Dodgers came back with four in the bottom of the inning as Kemp began his power display.
Following a walk to Dee Gordon, Kemp greeted right-hander Joe Wieland -- making his major-league debut -- with a two-run homer to center field.
Andre Ethier followed with a home run of his own, also to center. Ethier has driven in 14 runs in nine games.
After a James Loney double, Jerry Hairston single and Adam Kennedy sacrifice fly, Lilly and the Dodgers had a 4-1 lead.
Kemp, last year's MVP runner-up, pushed it to 6-1 in the second inning, this time following a single byTony Gwynn Jr.with another two-run homer.
On the season, Kemp is now hitting .457 with five home runs and 15 RBI. Last year through nine games, he had one homer and four RBI and was hitting .438.
After giving up an RBI single to Jesus Guzman in the first, Lilly did not give up another hit until Chase Headley beat out an infield hit in the seventh, retiring 15 of 16 Padres.
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Matt Kemp's pair of two-run homers powers Dodgers to 6-1 victory