Kemp, Dodgers win third straight
Three games, three wins and 23 runs from a Dodgers' offense that is finally catching up to the performance of the pitching staff.
Matt Kemp homered and drove in four runs, Casey Blake added a three-run shot and Los Angeles beat the Colorado Rockies 8-2 on Tuesday night.
The Dodgers clinched consecutive series wins for just the second time this season while tying their longest winning streak at three games.
''Over the last few days we're starting to put some runs on the board,'' first-year manager Don Mattingly said. ''If we can do that consistently, we're going to be tough.''
Too often this season, the Dodgers' offense has provided meager run support for the pitching staff. In their last three games, though, the Dodgers have scored nearly as many runs (23) as they did in their previous eight games (24).
''I don't think this is necessarily a hot streak,'' winning pitcher Ted Lilly said. ''We're pretty good. We're going to do some damage as the season goes on.''
Lilly (4-4) allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings, struck out a season-high eight and walked none for the first time this season. It was the left-hander's first win since May 10 at Pittsburgh.
''I was getting fastballs over early for strikes,'' said Lilly, who was caught by backup Dioner Navarro. ''Navy has an innate feel for what I'm trying to do. As a staff, we're pretty strong. We went into the season expecting to keep our club in a lot of games. I don't think there was much talk about our offense, but I thought there were guys who could do some damage.''
Kemp gave Los Angeles the lead for good in the first inning with a two-run homer, his 13th. He sent a 2-1 pitch from Mortensen into the mostly empty right field pavilion.
The Dodgers extended their lead to 4-1 on Kemp's two-run single in the third, and Aaron Miles' RBI double made it 5-1 in the fourth.
Blake homered off Matt Daley in the seventh, making it 8-2.
''That first breakout game we had, we scored a bunch. That was a big confidence booster for us,'' said Blake, who came off the disabled list last Friday. ''We needed something like that. There's been a lot of frustration the last month.''
The Rockies certainly know the that feeling, having scored just six runs in their last three losses.
''We haven't been able to put a finger on it, but it's not from a lack of work or for a lack of effort,'' Todd Helton said about the lack of hitting. ''Guys are working at it, trying hard, but everything's just not clicking for us right now. But we'll find it. We just have to know deep down that we're going to find a way to overcome this.''
Clayton Mortensen (1-3) gave up five runs and five hits in four innings, walked four and failed to record a strikeout for the first time this season while losing his third start in a row.
''I don't think we feel any added pressure, to be honest. We're just trying to go out and do our part and just try and keep us in games,'' he said. ''I didn't do a very good job of that. They're going to swing it. We've been swinging it lately. We just haven't gotten the timely ones.''
Colorado's Chris Nelson doubled in the third and scored on Mortensen's sacrifice fly to second baseman Miles in short right field. The second run came in the seventh on Ty Wigginton's second homer in two nights.
Notes: Dodgers RHP Vicente Padilla, on the DL with right radial nerve inflammation, didn't allow a baserunner in two scoreless innings for Class A-Rancho Cucamonga and could be activated Friday at Cincinnati, barring a setback. ... Dodgers OF Marcus Thames, on the DL with a right quad strain, played six innings in the field and went 0 for 2 with a strikeout and two walks at Triple-A Albuquerque. ... The Dodgers improved to .500 at home. ... It was Colorado's sixth straight road loss against an NL West opponent. ... Wigginton extended his hitting streak to eight games, with an RBI in four of his last five games.