Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon (9) celebrates with Matt Kemp (27) after he… (Bob Levey / Getty Images )
What’s more amazing?
The way Matt Kemp continues to make Major League Baseball’s regular season look like his personal home run-hitting contest? Or that it took this long for Clayton Kershaw to win his first game?
Kemp hit his ninth home run of the season and Kershaw earned his first victory as the Dodgers beat the Houston Astros, 5-1, at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.
James Loney also went deep in the Dodgers’ win, which improved the team’s National League-best record to 12-3.
Andre Ethier drove in two runs to increase his season total to 21. The only player in all of baseball with more? Kemp, with 22.
Kemp’s towering two-run blast off Kyle Weiland in the sixth inning was his third home run in as many games. His nine home runs are the most ever hit by a Dodger in the team’s first 15 games.
Kemp now has a 10-game hitting streak and has gone deep seven times in the last eight games.
Kemp has won the first two NL player-of-the-week awards of the season. A third could be on the way.
In five games this week, Kemp is 8 for 18 (.444) with three home runs and six runs batted in.
Astros reliever David Carpenter avoided Kemp in the eighth inning, opting to walk him to load the bases. But Ethier made Carpenter pay, driving in two runs with a single to right that increased the Dodgers’ lead to 5-0.
Kershaw did what a pitcher of his caliber is supposed to do against a team of the Astros’ caliber, keeping them scoreless for seven innings. He gave up only three hits and struck out nine.
Kershaw’s earned-run average dipped to 1.61.
Kershaw departed with a five-run lead, but the bullpen made the game interesting.
Mike MacDougal walked Jose Altuve to load the bases in the eighth inning, forcing Manager Don Mattingly to call on frequently-used setup man Kenley Jansen.
Jansen walked in a run. The inning ended with Jed Lowrie hitting a ball that nearly cleared Kemp’s head in center.
Jansen has pitched in 10 of the Dodgers’ 15 games, which puts him on pace for 108 appearances.
Kershaw’s first win was protected.
Speaking of statistical oddities, who would have expected Loney to hit a home run before Albert Pujols?
Playing in the city where he grew up, Loney hit his first home run of the season, a second-inning solo shot to right field that put the Dodgers up, 1-0.
Loney joined A.J. Ellis as the only Dodgers not named Kemp or Ethier to hit a home run.
Loney was one for three with a walk and is now hitting .200, up from the .050 he was batting on April 13.
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