Playing without Matt Kemp did nothing to slow down the Los Angeles Dodgers in the series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The surging Dodgers are expected to be without their star center fielder for another extended period as they seek their ninth consecutive road win and 22nd in 27 games overall Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.
After missing 11 games with a sore left shoulder, Kemp went 3 for 4 with a home run, double and three RBIs before suffering a left ankle sprain while sliding into home plate in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 9-2 win over Washington.
X-rays were negative, but manager Don Mattingly said Monday he was less optimistic that Kemp would avoid a return to the DL.
“I’m probably not feeling as good about it as I did yesterday,” Mattingly said. “It could go the wrong direction. Either this thing’s going to get (better) and we’ll know pretty quickly or it’s going to be a little more severe.”
Los Angeles (51-47) didn’t have much of a problem without Kemp on Monday, pounding out 16 hits and setting a season high for runs in a 14-5 victory over the last-place Blue Jays.
The team also extended its longest road streak since a nine-game run July 3-26, 2004, and moved into sole possession of first place in he NL West.
A.J. Ellis led the way with career highs of four hits, including a homer, and five RBIs for the Dodgers, winners of four straight. They have totaled 23 runs and 31 hits in their last two games.
Hanley Ramirez continued his red-hot stretch, picking up two more hits and two runs scored. He’s batting .430 with nine homers and 28 RBIs in his last 30 games.
“We have a deep lineup,” slugger Adrian Gonzalez said. “If you can just stay within the zone, it’ll be really tough on the opposing pitcher.”
The Dodgers will try to keep rolling against scheduled Toronto starter Todd Redmond (1-1, 4.32 ERA), who makes his third start since moving from the bullpen.
The right-hander has gone 1-0 while allowing five runs and five hits over nine innings in his two starts - both Toronto victories.
Redmond, who has never faced the Dodgers, looks to help the Jays (45-53) avoid their sixth straight loss and 18th in 25 games. They made a season-high five errors Monday.
”We’ve put ourselves in a significant hole,” infielder Mark DeRosa said. ”I don’t know if we’re capable of coming out of it.”
Redmond will be opposed by Chris Capuano (3-6, 4.63), who bounced back with a superb performance in his last start after allowing 13 runs and 17 hits over eight innings in his previous two. The left-hander struck out a season-high eight over 6 1-3 scoreless innings in a 6-1 win against Colorado on July 11.
“It was pretty obvious the last two starts that I needed to make some sort of adjustment,” Capuano said. “(It) was the best I felt this season.”
Emilio Bonifacio has gone 7 for 16 with two doubles all-time against Capuano, but he’s 6 for 29 overall in his last 14 games.
Teammate Edwin Encarnacion is batting .367 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 15 games against NL opponents, though he’s 3 for 17 with two homers lifetime in this matchup.
Toronto’s Colby Rasmus is batting .409 over his last 11 contests.