Dodgers first baseman James Loney (7) and left fielder Bobby Abreu greet… (Chris Carlson / Associated…)
Let’s see, where to begin? Matt Kemp came up lame, Andre Ethier and Don Mattingly were both ejected, Ted Lilly gave up three runs in the first inning … and naturally the Dodgers won.
That’s how it goes when you’re building the best record in baseball.
The Dodgers, of course, will keep their little fingers crossed that Kemp irritating his previously sore left hamstring won’t prove serious.
Otherwise the Dodgers weren’t left with much to complain about following their 11-5 victory Sunday before an announced crowd of 49,124 gave them a three-game sweep of Colorado and pushed them to 12 games over .500 for the first time since June 9, 2010.
Bobby Abreu, subbing for Kemp, hit a three-run double to give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead, and after the Ethier and Mattingly ejections, A.J. Ellis hit a three-run homer to cap a six-run fifth inning.
Kemp aggravated his sore hamstring that he originally injured May 5 in Chicago when running out a grounder to end the third inning. After meeting with assistant trainer Greg Harrel at the third-base photo well, he slammed his glove into the dugout and left the game.
Kemp only pinch hit the day after initially injuring the hamstring, but had started the last six consecutive games since then.
The day did not appear headed toward victory for the Dodgers when Lilly opened the game by giving up four consecutive hits and surrendering three runs. The Dodgers got one back in the bottom of the inning when Tony Gwynn Jr. doubled and scored on Kemp's groundout.
The Dodgers (23-11) pulled to within one in the second when James Loney doubled and scored on an Ellis single, but the Rockies got it back in the fourth when Marco Scutaro singled in a run.
The score remained 4-2 until the Dodgers' six-run explosion in the fifth inning. Justin Sellers, starting at shortstop for struggling Dee Gordon, singled and a pair of walks loaded the bases for Abreu and his double.
Ethier was then called out on strikes by umpire Mark Carlson, and was none too happy about it. He let Carlson know about it, but was walking away when Carlson ejected him. That brought out an irate Mattingly, presumably upset the ejection happened while his player was walking away. Mattingly almost looked like he wanted to be ejected, and shortly was for the first time this season.
Loney followed with a walk, before Ellis -- batting sixth for the first time this season -- drilled his third home run of the season almost halfway up the left-field pavilion. The four RBIs were a career high for Ellis, who is now batting .317.
Lilly left after walking a batter with one out in the seventh inning. Lilly was charged with four earned runs on the day -- only one less than he had allowed in his five previous starts -- on six hits and four walks.
He earned the victory to improve to 5-0, the best start to a season in his 12-year career.
The Dodgers scored three additional runs thanks to Scott Van Slyke, who took over for Ethier. Van Slyke walked in the seventh, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on an Adam Kennedy squeeze bunt.
Van Slyke doubled in two more in the eighth inning.
It was the Dodgers’ fourth three-game sweep this season, one more than they had all of last year.
Not sure about heart, but for Dodgers, home is where the wins are
In early going, lost fans not rushing back to Dodger Stadium
Dodgers sign Aaron Miles to a minor league contract
Dodgers find another way to make it work in 11-5 win over Rockies