Coming off three straight three-hit games, Kemp looks to stay hot Saturday night when the Dodgers continue a three-game road set against the Milwaukee Brewers.
While Ramirez has been steady since returning from a 50-game ban for using performance enhancers, batting .318 (7 for 22) with three homers and nine RBIs, he’s not the hottest hitter for Los Angeles (55-31) in that span.
That honor belongs to Kemp, who is 15 for 27 since Ramirez returned. Kemp - the Dodgers’ No. 8 hitter - had a grand slam to cap a six-run 10th inning Friday in a 12-8 victory.
Kemp’s homer was one of Los Angeles’ season-high five in the game. Ramirez had a two-run shot in the sixth, his 536th to tie Mickey Mantle for 15th on the all-time list.
“It feels good, but it’s just like another home run,” Ramirez said. “It makes me proud, but like I said it’s just another home run that I hit. I didn’t even know I tied him.”
While Los Angeles is cruising with the best record in baseball and a seven-game lead in the NL West, Milwaukee (44-42) is struggling to keep pace in the tightly-packed Central. The Brewers have lost seven of nine and are three games behind first-place St. Louis, matching their largest deficit since May 7.
Milwaukee led 6-5 in the ninth inning Friday, but Trevor Hoffman(notes) allowed Mark Loretta’s(notes) tying RBI single. The blown save was Hoffman’s second of the year and only his fifth in 70 career opportunities against the Dodgers.
“Against teams like that, it’s important to close the door,” Hoffman said. “I was just trying to be aggressive. It comes with the territory.”
The Dodgers will try to win their third in a row Saturday behind Jeff Weaver(notes) (5-2, 3.32 ERA), who will make his fifth start of the year. He gets the ball because Eric Milton(notes) is on the disabled list with a back strain.
Weaver is 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA as a starter this season. He defeated the Los Angeles Angels 6-4 on June 20 in his most recent start, yielding two runs in five innings of a 6-4 victory. He is 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in three relief appearances since then.
The right-hander is 3-3 with a 3.52 ERA in six career starts versus the Brewers, who he hasn’t faced since 2006.
Mike Burns(notes) (1-2, 5.57) will start for the fourth time this year for Milwaukee. Burns, inserted into the rotation June 25 in place of an injured Dave Bush(notes), made 46 career relief appearances before his first start.
The journeyman right-hander, on his fourth team in three seasons, gave up seven runs over 4 2-3 innings Sunday in an 8-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.