PHOENIX — Matt Kemp is back and knocking the baseball all over the park, just in time to help the Los Angeles Dodgers clinch the NL West and look for even better things ahead.
One day after coming off the disabled list, Kemp went 4 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs Tuesday night and the Dodgers routed the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-3.
The Dodgers, who once languished in last place 9 games out, snapped a four-game skid and can clinch the division title by beating Arizona on Wednesday night.
“It feels good to just be able to be here with the team and be able to go out there and run out with them and compete with them and do all that, ” Kemp said. “I missed baseball, man. I haven’t been able to play in a while, so it feels good, you know the crowd, to hear all that, it’s a good feeling.”
Greinke (15-3) allowed two runs on six hits in six innings to improve to 7-0 in his last nine starts.
The Dodgers seemed to downplay being so close to the NL West title.
Winning the division, Greinke said, is “nice but it’s not really the special part.”
“Something special would be winning in the playoffs or the World Series,” he said.
Patrick Corbin (14-7) gave up six runs on seven hits in two innings plus three batters, his shortest outing of the year. After starting the season 12-1, Corbin is 2-6 in his last 10 starts and there has been speculation he could be shut down for the remainder of the season.
“We haven’t had that conversation yet,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “The game just got over, (general manager) Kevin (Towers) is not here. I have talked to him but we will see how Patrick feels. He didn’t throw a lot of pitches tonight. He just didn’t have his good stuff. `’
Aaron Hill hit a solo home run for the Diamondbacks.
Hanley Ramirez, who had missed the previous four games with a sore back, reached base four times with a single and three walks and scored three runs.
Mark Ellis and Ramirez got the Dodgers going with consecutive one-out singles in the first. Gonzalez popped out, but Kemp lashed a two-out double to right to bring home both runs. Uribe followed with his third home run of the season, a two-run shot to left made it 4-0.
Corbin retired the side in order in the second but walked Ramirez to start the third. Then on an 0-2 pitch, Gonzalez hit a soaring home run into the right field seats, his 17th homer of the season, and the Dodgers were up 6-0.
Kemp’s double off the center field wall ended Corbin’s brief but rough night.
“That’s me,” Kemp said, “driving the ball to center field, that’s what I do. To be able to do that, especially the first game back, that’s a pretty good sign.”
Kemp had been sidelined since July 21 with a left ankle sprain. He struck out as a pinch hitter to end Monday night’s 2-1 loss. Manager Don Mattingly had said that until Kemp showed he could run well enough, pinch hitting would be his role. Kemp showed enough in a simulated game earlier Tuesday to get him back in the lineup.
“He swung the bat good,” Mattingly said. “I thought he looked good in the outfield, too, just turning, a couple of plays he ended up backpedaling and stuff. It looked like he was pretty easy out there.”
Kemp’s RBI single off Matt Langwell in the fourth put the Dodgers up 8-0.
Arizona scratched out a run in the fourth when Paul Goldschmidt and Eric Chavez led off with singles. Goldschmidt scored from third when Martin Prado grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Hill’s leadoff homer in the sixth cut the lead to 8-2.
Michael Young tripled home Ramirez with the Dodgers’ ninth run in the eighth.
The Dodgers won’t have Clayton Kershaw on the mound Wednesday night as had been scheduled. Mattingly said before the game that Kershaw has been pushed back three days and will start Saturday in San Diego to give him some added rest. Right-hander Stephen Fife (4-3, 3.38 ERA) will start in what the Dodgers hope will be the clincher on Wednesday.
Notes: Fife will be making his 10th
start of the season. RHP Brandon McCarthy (4-9, 4.58) will go for the
Diamondbacks… All 16 Diamondbacks position players appeared in the
game. … Arizona LH reliever Matt Reynolds says he will undergo “Tommy
John” elbow surgery early next week. … Greinke is 2-0 in three starts
against Arizona this season. Before that, he was 0-3 in five starts
against the Diamondbacks. … Yasiel Puig, batting leadoff, was 0 for 5.