Kemp helps Dodgers boost win streak to eight

BY foxsports • April 20, 2009

Offense hasn't been a problem so far for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Neither has pitching. In fact, the only thing that can sidetrack them at this point is overconfidence as they head out on a nine-game road trip.

Matt Kemp hit a grand slam and a solo homer to help the defending NL West champions beat the Colorado Rockies 14-2 on Sunday for their eighth straight win.

Andre Ethier and Orlando Hudson each drove in three runs for the Dodgers, who have won their first six home games for the first time since the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers started out 8-0 at Ebbets Field in Jackie Robinson's rookie year.

"I felt pretty good about this club leaving spring training. I just felt we were going to score runs. But to get off to this kind of start is pretty good," manager Joe Torre said.

"Everybody's contributing. We're getting the blowout wins by getting quality at-bats, getting the opposing pitcher to get his pitch count up there quickly, and doing a lot of the little things right - like getting two-out base hits. Two-out RBIs are huge, and I know they're backbreakers for the opponent."

The Dodgers are 29-9 at Chavez Ravine since last year's All-Star break, the best record in the majors during that stretch. They outscored their opponents 50-17 this homestand, recording 77 hits, 11 home runs and 31 walks while batting a collective .367.

"You're not going to go out and score 14 runs every game, but we definitely do have the firepower to put some runs on the board," third baseman Casey Blake said.

James McDonald managed to work out of trouble while throwing 4 1-3 scoreless innings for the Dodgers. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second, retiring rookie Dexter Fowler on a flyball to right field.

Torre hoped to get five innings out of McDonald in his second big league start, but had to pull the 24-year-old right-hander with a 4-0 lead after he walked two batters in the fifth.

"I wish I could have gone deeper into the game, but everything worked out fine," said McDonald, the Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year the past two seasons. "I just have to put guys away after getting 0-2 against them instead of messing around."

Scott Elbert (1-0), recalled from Double-A Chattanooga on Saturday when Cory Wade went on the DL, was summoned to face Todd Helton and retired him on a foul pop. Garrett Atkins followed with a drive that Kemp hauled in with a leaping catch a few feet from the center-field fence.

Elbert contributed an RBI double during a seven-run fifth that gave the Dodgers an 11-0 cushion. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2) was removed with one out and the bases loaded before Kemp greeted struggling Matt Belisle with his second career grand slam and first since April 26, 2008 - also against the Rockies during a 10-run first inning against Mark Redman at Dodger Stadium.

"That first home run he hit, that was just pure strength. He didn't really connect fully with it, but it just carried," teammate Russell Martin said. "He's got more power than anybody on the team - and I don't know if there's any guys in the league that have more power than he does."

Hudson and Ethier capped the Dodgers' most productive inning of the season with RBI singles.

"We've got to get better out on the mound," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "Our starters have to go deeper into the game, and our bullpen's got to come in and throws strikes. Days like this are going to happen. It's part of the game. You've got to take your beating and move on."

The Rockies' team ERA is at 5.74.

"We're not doing the job we need to do out there. We're not even close. And that needs to be stepped up," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Whether they're overanalyzing, overthinking, overtrying - whatever they're doing, they should just stop it. Throw low strikes, get the first hitter of the inning out, and we'll go from there."

Elbert allowed two runs and three hits in 2 2-3 innings, including seventh-inning homers by Brad Hawpe and Iannetta, whose second of the season snapped an 0-for-19 drought.

Jimenez (1-2) was charged with seven runs and seven hits. The right-hander was 4-0 with a 5.51 ERA in six previous career starts against the Dodgers, including a 10-1 victory last July 22, when he earned his first complete game in the majors with a four-hitter.

The Dodgers, who finished with 19 hits, grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first on RBI doubles by Hudson and Ethier. Jimenez escaped a bases-loaded jam later that inning when he slipped a called third strike past Kemp, who struck out a franchise-record 153 times last season.

Hudson made it 3-0 in the second with an RBI single, and Kemp led off the fourth with a double and scored on Rafael Furcal's double.

Kemp's three hits extended his season-opening hit streak to 13 games.


The Rockies played the second-most day games last season behind the Cubs, and were 17-30 - the worst percentage in franchise history. They're 3-5 under the sun this season. ... Belisle has been charged with seven runs and seven hits in one-third of an inning over his last two appearances. ... The Dodgers scored two runs in the seventh, and have outscored their opponents 19-0 in that inning this season. ... Wade was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Monday to take a closer look at bursitis in his shoulder, but the Dodgers scrapped that idea after Wade received a cortisone shot and reported improvement. ... The Dodgers' record for longest home winning streak to start a season is nine, set in 1946.

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