After he made a terrific catch falling down in center field Tuesday night, Matt Kemp got to his feet and punched the outfield fence at Dodger Stadium with an open fist. A risky move, considering the bad luck the Los Angeles Dodgers have had this season.
But it also was a reasonable way to celebrate saving the Dodgers' 6-5 victory against the hated San Francisco Giants in Kemp's first game back from the disabled list. It also was the Dodgers fourth straight win overall, though they still sit in last place in the NL West, seven games behind the leading Diamondbacks.
Kemp was asked if his long run on the drive by Marco Scutaro also meant something — in the long run — regarding his right hamstring, which had sidelined him for 24 games.
''You can't really think like that,'' Kemp said... ''I mean, I've thought like that after I came back from it last year, and it happened again. So I can't play timid. I have to let it go. And if it goes, it goes. Hamstrings are tricky, and you never know when they're good. But right now it feels good and I'm glad we got the win.''
That's also how the Dodgers probably should act going forward, even after a big win against the defending champs. Based on how they've reacted to other momentous events during the 2012 season, there's no reason to assume they have any momentum. Every time Dodgers have gotten a so-called "lift," they've quickly fallen back to mediocrity or worse.
• They got no positive attitude adjustment from the big fight with the San Diego Padres.
• They got no boost, other than with positive publicity and record merchandise sales, from the arrival of Cuban phenomenon Yasiel Puig. They came into Tuesday 10-10 in games in which Puig has appeared.
• And now Kemp's awesome play. Surely a sign that things are finally turning around. Right?
As Yahoo! Sports' own Tim Brown reported, Kemp has returned to an upside-down world, where Puig has become the biggest attraction in the Dodgers clubhouse. But you know, Kemp and Puig working together might just be able to turn this thing around.
Kemp's not ready to go there yet. He's just happy to be back in the lineup, period. Via the Associated Press:
''I had to beg him to let me play today,'' Kemp said, referring to manager Don Mattingly. ''I was telling him I was just sick of watching my team play without me. It kind of feels like you're not part of the team when you're on the DL, so I just wanted to get back out there with the guys.''
And now we'll see if Kemp and the Dodgers can start to fulfill the expectations they had before the season started.
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