Kemp homer gives Dodgers split vs. Astros

BY foxsports • July 20, 2009

Matt Kemp and the Los Angeles Dodgers keep winning the close ones.

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Kemp hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning, Brad Ausmus had a pair of RBI doubles and the Dodgers beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on Sunday to split their four-game series and improve to 19-9 in one-run decisions.

"We always find ways to win and we never get down," Kemp said. "Everybody keeps grinding. We want to win bad. We don't want that bad taste in our mouths of what happened last year with Philly (in the NLCS), and we're hungry. We're capable of doing some big things and hopefully we can get to where we need to go."

Kemp drove a 3-2 slider from LaTroy Hawkins (1-4) into the left-field pavilion for his 12th homer, capping a big day at the plate. He finished with three hits and tied a career high by scoring four runs.

Ramon Troncoso (4-0) pitched a perfect eighth to extend his streak to 16 innings without allowing an earned run. Jonathan Broxton did likewise in the ninth for his 22nd save in 24 attempts as Los Angeles improved baseball's best record to 58-34.

"It was great that we came back and split the series after losing the first two," Broxton said. "Today we just battled the whole game and finally got the lead. We've got a good pitching staff and we have batters that can always keep us in there if we just keep it close."

Astros rookie reliever Alberto Arias, who came in with a scoreless streak of 21 1-3 innings, committed two costly errors that led to the tying run in the seventh after he inherited a 3-2 lead from starter Russ Ortiz.

Arias would have had three errors in the inning had first baseman Chris Coste not scooped the right-hander's low throw out of the dirt on a sacrifice bunt by Ausmus. Blake DeWitt followed with a grounder to first and Coste flipped to Arias, who dropped the ball at the bag as Kemp went to third.

Rafael Furcal then hit a bouncer to the right of the mound, but the ball fell out of Arias' hand as he cocked his arm to throw to the plate. Furcal was credited with an RBI. The run was unearned, despite the errors by Arias, who has not allowed an earned run in 24 innings spanning his last 20 appearances.

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