A thrilling ninth-inning victory might be what the Los Angeles Dodgers need to turn things in a positive direction.
The Dodgers look to build on a much-needed win in the opener of a four-game home series with the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
“It’s one way to turn the page,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We talked about getting that rock rolling in a different direction. It’s got to start somewhere and that’s a pretty good start there.”
The Dodgers hope that’s the case, though they likely will need to find more offense. Los Angeles managed two runs in each of the last three games against St. Louis, even with Kemp and Andre Ethier(notes) still hot at the plate.
Kemp recorded his fourth straight multi-hit game Sunday, going 3 for 4 to raise his major league-leading average to .474. He’s 5 for 12 with a homer against Atlanta’s scheduled starter Tim Hudson(notes) (2-1, 3.48 ERA).
Ethier is 3 for 17 against Hudson, but batting .415 with seven RBIs during a 14-game hitting streak.
Hudson is 6-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 12 starts versus Los Angeles, but 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA in four at Dodger Stadium since earning his only win there May 15, 2005.
After giving up four total runs in his first two starts, Hudson allowed five in six innings of a 5-1 loss to Florida on Wednesday. The right-hander did retire 14 of the final 16 batters he faced.
“That is the difference between a normal pitcher and a top-of-the-rotation pitcher,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Braves’ official website. “Most guys would have given up (that many runs) and been out of there by the third or fourth inning.”
Atlanta (7-9) concluded a 4-5 homestand with a 3-2 loss to New York on Sunday, but the Braves outscored the Mets 10-5 while taking two of three in the series.
“I have to think if our pitchers keep pitching like they have and hold teams to a minimal amount of runs, the offense is going to pick up the slack and some W’s will start coming our way,” Chipper Jones(notes) told the Braves’ official website.
Atlanta has scored 40 runs while winning five of the last seven at Dodger Stadium.
All-Star Dan Uggla(notes) is batting .177 this season, but is 9 for 15 with two doubles and one home run his last four games at Los Angeles. He is 3 for 8 with two homers against scheduled starter Ted Lilly(notes) (0-2, 6.00), who hopes to continue his recent success against the Braves while trying a fourth time for his first win of 2011.
The left-hander allowed four runs in six innings, but could not hold a one-run lead in a 4-3 loss at San Francisco on Wednesday.
“I’m still not making enough quality pitches to give us a real good shot at winning,” Lilly told the Dodgers’ official website. “It’s very upsetting.”
Lilly, however, is 4-0 with a 3.06 ERA his last six starts versus Atlanta. He allowed three hits in six scoreless innings of a 2-1 win over the Braves on Aug. 14.