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Dodgers' Kemp, Ramirez each homer twice in win

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- After watching the San Francisco Giants' power hitters succeed, the Los Angeles Dodgers followed the same formula to achieve the same results.

Center fielder Matt Kemp and shortstop Hanley Ramirez each hit two home runs to lead the Dodgers to a 6-2 victory over the Giants on Sunday night.

The homers served as both players' response to pregame challenges from Los Angeles coaches Steve Yeager and Davey Lopes.

"Yeager came in and told me, 'Spring training is over, OK?" Ramirez said. "'We're in the season. You guys need to do something.' Davey started getting on us, too."

Kemp added, "Davey jokingly got on me and Hanley, talking in batting practice that we needed to do something today. I think Davey needs to have that talk with us every day."

Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke (2-0) retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced and finished with eight strikeouts in six innings of two-run ball.

Greinke, who issued no walks, said he succeeded by going against type. He caught five Giants looking at called third strikes.

"The last couple of years, I've been throwing a lot of balls (out of the strike zone) with two strikes," Greinke said. "So I think the book is out on me: Be patient with two strikes and don't expand your (hitting) zone too much."

First baseman Brandon Belt and right fielder Hunter Pence each hit a solo home run for the Giants, who have 11 homers in seven games.

Kemp, activated from the disabled list Friday, began the scoring in the bottom of the second inning by hitting a high fastball from right-hander Matt Cain (0-1) into the left field stands.

"I don't want to nibble and I don't want to go away from the strike zone," Cain said. "I want to try to attack guys. Obviously you want to keep the ball in the park, but I've always been a guy who can elevate the ball, and sometimes when it's elevated to certain guys in certain areas, it's prone to go out."

Los Angeles extended its lead to 4-0 with three runs in the fourth. With one out, Ramirez hit his first home run of the season down the left field line.

The shortstop, who entered the game hitting .192, believes that drive provided a personal turning point.

"After that one, I felt like, 'Wow. Everything is coming back,'" Ramirez said. "I felt more comfortable at the plate and more relaxed."

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez followed with a double, then one out later, Kemp deposited another high fastball from Cain into the bleachers in right field.

"That's when I know I'm seeing the ball good, when I drive the ball to right field," Kemp said. "That's my swing right there. I've got to continue to do that to be successful."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "The ball was carrying a lot better than I've ever seen it here. Still, it's fair to say (Cain) made a couple of mistakes tonight. ...

"I like the way he attacked the zone today. he pitched very efficiently. He had good stuff. He didn't get away with some mistakes. Sure, it happened last year at the early part of the season. That being said, I don't want him to get that in his head. If he goes out there with that stuff, he'll be just fine."

Belt pounded his fourth home run of the season to start the top of the sixth. Pence contributed his first of the year two outs later, slicing the Dodgers' lead to 6-2. Both sailed into the right field stands.

The Dodgers added one run in the bottom of the sixth. Ramirez doubled, took third base on Gonzalez's groundout and scored on right fielder Andre Ethier's sacrifice fly.

"I was encouraged by that," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said about his team manufacturing a run. "Sometimes last year, we didn't get that done very well. I feel that was a big run for us."

Ramirez ended the scoring in the eighth with his third hit of the game, a solo homer to center field off Giants reliever David Huff.

Cain retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced, but his final line was poor. He allowed five runs and six hits while striking out four in six innings.

Giants center fielder Angel Pagan went 2-for-4 to extend his season-long hitting streak to seven games. Belt and left fielder Michael Morse added two hits for San Francisco.

NOTES: The Dodgers salvaged the finale of the three-game series. ... Giants RF Hunter Pence played in this 178th consecutive game, the longest active streak among National League players. ... Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig was held out of Sunday night's lineup after injuring his left thumb while sliding into first base for an infield hit Saturday. Puig underwent an MRI exam, which proved negative. ... The Dodgers traded minor league RHP Duke von Schamann to the Cleveland Indians for LHP Colt Hynes, whom the club optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. OF Mike Baxter, sent to Albuquerque on Friday, was designated for assignment. ... Dodgers C A.J. Ellis received his first day off Sunday. ... Los Angeles LF Carl Crawford needs one stolen base to reach 450 in his career.
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