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The Grand Slam: Matt Kemp's RBI single downs Braves in 10th inning

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Don't let the final images on Wednesday night fool you. Matt Kemp is still a Dodger despite having his jersey ripped off by teammates following the game. That's just how baseball teams celebrate these days, and Kemp gave them plenty of reason with his 10th inning walkoff single that downed the Atlanta Braves 3-2.

The game-winner was Kemp's third hit of the game. He homered leading off the second, singled in the sixth and walked for good measure in the eighth. Kemp also had three hits in Tuesday's win over the Braves — including two home runs and four RBIs — and is hitting .486 (17-for-35) over his last nine games. Needless to say, he's locked in, and the Dodgers will be quite content to hold on and hope for a lot more down the stretch.

It appeared as though Juan Uribe would be the offensive hero after he singled home Kemp in the eighth inning. However, closer Kenley Jansen served up a game-tying home run to Justin Upton in the ninth inning, which also spoiled a tremendous outing by Zack Greinke. The Dodgers right-hander allowed one run in eight innings while striking out 13. All of that after apparently tweaking his right calf in the first inning. 

It seems he's fine, and so are the Dodgers. They've won five in a row now and will maintain their three-game lead over San Francisco in the NL West. 

BREWERS AVOID SWEEP, HOLD ON TO FIRST PLACE: The Milwaukee Brewers entered play on Wednesday knowing their lead in the NL Central was down to one game over the Pittsburgh Pirates. They also understood they were on the verge of being swept by the red hot Tampa Bay Rays, and to avoid it they'd have to defeat 2012 Cy Young Award winner David Price. Not exactly an ideal scenario, but a career day from Martin Maldonado and a strong performance by Yovani Gallardo helped Milwaukee achieve a much-needed 5-0 victory

Maldonado, Milwaukee's backup catcher, knocked in a career-high four runs on three hits. He started the scoring with a two-run single in the second. He followed with an RBI double in the sixth and tacked on an eighth inning RBI single to wrap things up. Strangely enough, they were Maldonado's first RBIs since June 3, a span covering 17 games.

On the hill, Gallardo allowed four hits in seven innings to pick up his sixth win. Price allowed four runs (three earned) in seven innings. With the win, Milwaukee gained ground on its three closest competitors in the division with Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati all losing.

HAMMEL TIME GETS HAMMERED IN HOUSTON:

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

July kicked off with a big trade that saw the Oakland A's acquire starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs for four prospects, including highly touted shortstop Addison Russell. While Samardzija has stepped in and provided top of the rotation production in his first four starts, Hammel hasn't fit the bill as an upgrade at the back of the rotation. That continued on Wednesday, as the 31-year-old right-hander allowed six first-inning runs en route to an 8-1 loss to the Houston Astros

In his four starts since the deal, Hammel is 0-4 with 9.53 ERA. That led to speculation that he may not make his next start with Oakland. However, manager Bob Melvin expects Hammel to be there unless something changes, like a possible trade. Frustrated lefty Tommy Milone doesn't sound like a possibility at this point, but there might be some urgency for Hammel to improve. 

That's catcher Derek Norris' take after the game.

On the side, Houston starter Dallas Keuchel tied Clayton Kershaw for the league lead with his fourth complete game. He allowed one run on four hits and three walks while striking out five. There have been some rumblings that Keuchel may be a darkhorse to be traded on Thursday. If so, this outing won't hurt his value at all. 

MAX SCHERZER GETS AL LEADING 13TH WIN: Before Max Scherzer really broke a sweat on Wednesday night, his Tigers teammates gave him a nice cushion with a six-run first inning against the Chicago White Sox. That was already a lot more than he actually needed as Scherzer and Detroit cruised to a 7-2 victory

For Scherzer, the win was his AL best 13th. As noted, he did his part, tossing seven innings of one-run ball. Nick Castellanos was the offensive star, capping their early rally with a three-run homer. He also added an RBI single in the seventh to give him a career-high four RBIs. Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter and J.D. Martinez each drove in one run for the AL Central leaders. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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