Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp hits a solo home run in the ninth inning… (Alex Brandon / Associated…)
How about that? Life. Real, honest-to-goodness baseball life.
Those Dodgers. They're like Al Pacino in the horrifically bad "Godfather: Part III." Every time you are absolutely ready to give up on them, they pull you back in.
After stumbling around in the opener of their doubleheader Wednesday against the Nationals and then blowing a late 6-0 lead in the second game, they found life from the struggling bat of Matt Kemp.
After the Nationals rallied for six runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie it, Kemp hit a solo home run in the ninth to lead the Dodgers to a 7-6 win, which was only their biggest victory of the season.
Kemp came into the game batting just .123 (seven for 57) with only two RBI since crashing into the Coors Field wall Aug. 28.
But his 19th home run was his biggest hit of the season, a shot to center off Tyler Clippard, that offered the Dodgers a giant sigh of relief.
For seven innings Josh Beckett pitched like someone ready to become the Dodgers' No. 1 starter should Clayton Kershaw’s hip force him to be shut down.
Beckett may not throw in the upper 90s any longer, but he clearly knows how to pitch. He held the Nationals scoreless until appearing to tire in the eighth. Through the first seven innings, he allowed only two hits.
Beckett retired 13 consecutive Nationals at one point and did not walk a batter. He was not overpowering -- he struck out two -- but he was in control until things unraveled in the eighth.
A solo home run by Michael Morse and a two-run shot by Steve Lombardozzi cut the Dodgers' lead in half to start the eighth. When Adrian Gonzalez booted a sharp Corey Brown bouncer for his first error as a Dodger, Beckett's night was done.
Bryce Harper beat out an infield single with the bases loaded, and then a two-run single by Morse off Ronald Belisario tied it.
The Dodgers appeared teetering on their most crushing loss of the year, until Kemp homered in the ninth.
At least the Dodgers finally gave Beckett some runs to work with. In his first four starts with the Dodgers, his total support came to five runs. He had more than that Wednesday by the fourth inning.
The Dodgers, who squandered several scoring opportunities in the opener, scored three times in the third, and liked it so much, came back and did it again in the fourth.
Hanley Ramirez singled with two outs to drive in a pair off John Lannan, and Andre Ethier singled in one more to give Beckett a 3-0 lead.
They came back with three more in the fourth. Kemp singled in one, Shane Victorino scored on a Chien-Ming Wang wild pitch and Kemp was ruled to have crossed the plate before Gonzalez was tagged out at third on a Ramirez grounder. That would prove a key decision by the umpires.
Brandon League pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to earn his third save as a Dodger.
The victory assured the Dodgers of winning the season series (4-1) against the Nationals, owners of the best record in baseball.
Dodgers have to be loving that extra wild-card spot now
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