Matt Kemp and his teammates didn’t spent much time celebrating their three-game sweep of the slumping Colorado Rockies. All their attention was focused on whether his troublesome left hamstring would result in a lengthy absence from the lineup.
Kemp, who leads the Los Angeles Dodgers with 12 homers and a .359 batting average, left Sunday’s 11-5 victory because of an irritated left hamstring after grounding out in the third inning. The All-Star center fielder has played in 399 consecutive games, the longest current streak in the majors, but that streak is in serious jeopardy.
”It’s been a little bit scary, not knowing how my hamstring would hold up,” said Kemp, who has an MRI scheduled for Monday. ”I think I just need to let it heal for a little bit. I don’t know how much time that’s going to take. I’ll see how it feels later on tonight and tomorrow, and we’ll go from there.
”But I’m definitely not going on the DL. That’s not going to happen. The team needs me. I don’t think this is a 15-day thing. I think it’s maybe two or three days. I know how my body is. I’m a pretty fast healer.”
Kemp has started all but one of the Dodgers’ first 34 games, appearing as a pinch-hitter on May 6. The two-time Gold Glove winner set a Dodgers record for home runs in April with 12, but has not hit one in his first 33 at-bats this month and is hitless in four straight games for the first time since Aug. 16-19, 2010.
”I’m just frustrated,” he said. ”I haven’t been able to play the way I want to play. You need your legs to hit, so maybe some of those balls I’ve hit to the warning track would have had a little more power if I had all my legs.”
Bobby Abreu hit a three-run double against Alex White (0-2) and A.J. Ellis added a three-run homer off Matt Reynolds during a sixth-inning rally that helped Ted Lilly improve to 5-0.
Ellis tied a career high with four RBIs, including a run-scoring single in the second, as the Dodgers improved baseball’s best record to 23-11. They lead San Francisco by six games in the NL West, the biggest margin in any division.
This was the Dodgers’ fourth three-game sweep, matching their total for last season. Their first sweep last year wasn’t until their final series before the All-Star break.
Lilly (5-0) overcame a shaky start, allowing five runs – four earned – and six hits over 6 1-3 innings after giving up singles to each of his first four batters. The 36-year-old left-hander, who began the season on the disabled list because of a strained neck, has won his first five decisions for the first time in his career.
Abreu, the only Dodger who had ever faced White in a regular-season game previously, gave Los Angeles a 5-4 lead in the fifth when he drove the right-hander’s 2-0 pitch the other way to left-center after a leadoff single by Justin Sellers and consecutive one-out walks to Tony Gwynn Jr. and Mark Ellis.
”Sometimes he throws sinkers and changeups. But he didn’t have good control today, so you have to be patient and wait for him to leave the ball up,” Abreu said. ”I was just looking for a fastball, something I could drive to the outfield, and he threw me a fastball middle-away.”
White was charged with six runs, five hits and three walks over 4 1-3 innings in his second start of the season for the Rockies, who are languishing a season-worst 9 1/2 games off the pace.
”Embarrassing. We did everything to set the stage for them to beat us,” manager Jim Tracy said. ”Nine base on balls from the fifth inning on. The walks in the fifth inning set the stage for them to take the 8-4 lead. There’s no way of saying it nicely. That’s awful.”
Reynolds relieved White and threw a called third strike past cleanup hitter Andre Ethier, ejected by umpire Mark Carlson for arguing about it. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came to his defense and was tossed as well. It was the second career ejection for Ethier, who came in leading the NL with 32 RBIs.
”He warned me, but I kept going at him and he probably had enough,” Ethier said. ”In the big picture, I’ve got to be smart enough and not get tossed out of the game in that situation – especially with Matty going down. In the fifth inning, you can’t be short-handed even more than you already are.”
When play continued, Reynolds walked James Loney and A.J. Ellis followed with his third homer to make it 8-4.
Gwynn, whose father won five Gold Gloves as a right fielder with the San Diego Padres, shifted from left to center after Kemp’s departure and robbed Carlos Gonzalez of extra bases with a fully extended dive for a backhand grab in left-center.
Notes: The mothers of Kemp, Ethier, Loney, Sellers and teammates Aaron Harang, Adam Kennedy and Matt Treanor each threw a ceremonial first pitch to their sons. … Colorado CF Dexter Fowler left after 3 1/2 innings because of blurred vision, the result of a throw to second by catcher A.J. Ellis that struck him as he advanced on White’s bunt in front of the plate. … Rockies regular cleanup hitter Troy Tulowitzki batted fifth for the first time this season with Todd Helton getting the day off. Tulowitzki has gone 10 games and 41 at-bats without an RBI since his two-run double against Harang on April 30 at Coors Field.