LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Kemp has regained his home-run stroke, the Dodgers keep winning, and yet it still might not be enough to eke into the playoffs.
Josh Beckett earned his first victory in his last five starts and the Dodgers backed him with three homers, beating Colorado 7-1 Sunday for their fifth straight win to stay in contention for an NL wild-card spot.
“This shows what type of club we can be,” manager Don Mattingly said.
Kemp, Luis Cruz and A.J. Ellis each hit two-run homers as the Dodgers remained two games behind St. Louis for the second wild card. The Cardinals beat Washington 10-4.
“We still know there’s hope,” Kemp said. “There’s a plan for everything and hopefully our plan is to make it to the postseason. The way we’re playing I would like our chances.”
The Dodgers have their first five-game winning streak in more than two months. They end the regular season with a three-game series against the NL West champion San Francisco Giants starting Monday at home.
“We’ve always played San Francisco pretty good. It’s going to be a hard-fought battle,” Kemp said. “We win out and Cincinnati plays a good St. Louis team, hopefully they sweep them or get two from them.”
Beckett (2-3) allowed one run and six hits in six innings, struck out five and walked three for his first victory since Sept. 1 against Arizona. The right-hander had received two or fewer runs in five of his previous six starts with the team, which acquired him in a trade with Boston.
“All we can do is take care of what we do,” Beckett said. “We put ourselves in this hole, but we’re trying to climb out. We’re going to need a little help.”
Andrew Brown’s homer leading off the fourth was the Rockies’ only run in the three-game series that ended with their ninth consecutive road loss. Until he homered, Colorado had gone 26 innings without scoring.
Jorge De La Rosa (0-2) gave up four runs and five hits in four innings, struck out three and walked none in his third start since Tommy John surgery kept him out for nearly 16 months.
The Rockies have played as many as seven rookies at once, giving manager Jim Tracy an early look at the future.
“But when you bring them here to Los Angeles and play against a club that like this, we’re not quite up to speed with that just yet,” he said. “But there’s a lot of youth and vitality on this club and there’s still growing to do. I’m not the least bit disappointed in them. They didn’t back off in this series. They played their rear ends off yesterday and they played hard today, but you can’t catch balls when they’re hit over the fence. You couldn’t do that with a veteran club.”
Shane Victorino opened the fourth with a single before Kemp’s 23rd homer and third in two days cleared the wall in right field, putting the Dodgers ahead for good, 2-1. After Adrian Gonzalez singled and Hanley Ramirez flied out, Cruz homered to make it 4-1.
Los Angeles loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth against Rob Scahill. Ramirez’s RBI single scored Victorino, who had three hits. Kemp was thrown out at the plate trying to score right behind Victorino.
Ellis homered in the sixth after Andre Ethier walked with one out, extending the Dodgers’ lead to 7-1.
NOTES: Rockies CF Rafael Ortega made his major league debut and reached base four times, including an infield single in his first at-bat against Beckett. … The Dodgers last won five in a row from July 18-23. … Los Angeles swept Colorado for the second time this season, with the first coming at home from May 11-13. … De La Rosa fell to 0-7 in nine career starts against the Dodgers, and Colorado has lost all 13 games in which he’s appeared vs. LA. … The Rockies have not won a season series against the Dodgers since 2007. … Ellis received the club’s Roy Campanella Award before the game from Campanella’s daughter Joni. He was chosen by his teammates and coaches as the Dodgers’ most inspirational player this season.