Kemp's four-hit return guides Dodgers past D-backs

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Matt Kemp is just glad to be here, and the Los Angeles Dodgers could not be happier.
Kemp had four hits and drove in three runs in his first start in eight weeks, helping the Dodgers close in on the NL West title with a 9-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Wednesday.
"It feels good to just be able to be here with the team and be able to go out there and run out with them and compete with them and do all that," said Kemp, who was out two months with ankle and hamstring injuries.
"I missed baseball, man. I haven't been able to play in a while, so it feels good, you know, the crowd, to hear all that, it's a good feeling."
Kemp had two doubles and two singles before leaving for a pinch runner in the seventh inning. He doubled home the first two runs of a four-run first inning and singled in a run in the fourth that gave Los Angeles an 8-0 lead.
Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe added two-run home runs, and Hanley Ramirez, back after missing four games with a balky back, had a single and three walks and scored three times.
"Get those guys back in the lineup, we score runs," Gonzalez said. "We have a really deep lineup when guys are in there. It makes it easier for all of us."
The Dodgers (87-64), who were in last place and 9 1/2 games behind the D-backs on June 23, dropped their magic number to clinch the division title to two. They would win the NL West with a victory in either of the final two games of the series.
Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke gave up two runs and six hits in six innings to win his seventh straight decision. Greinke (15-3) has not lost in 10 starts, since a 5-2 defeat to Cincinnati on July 25, the last time he allowed more than two runs.
"Just locating," Greinke said when asked the reason for his strong run. "Throwing all four pitches sort of where I want. I mean, not perfect. But if you are able to have confidence that you are going to throw the ball where you want, you can do more. That's been the biggest thing."
Uribe capped the first inning off Patrick Corbin (14-7) with a two-run homer, his 12th, and Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the third, his 21st. Uribe had a three-homer game against the D-backs in an 8-1 victory Sept. 9.
Aaron Hill had two hits, including a home run, and Paul Goldschmidt added two hits and scored a run as Arizona (76-74) had its three-game winning streak broken.
Corbin gave up six runs on seven hits in two-plus innings, his shortest outing of the season. He gave up both Los Angeles home runs and both of Kemp's doubles.
"He just couldn't hit his spots," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He hit the middle of the plate a lot. They didn't miss them."
Corbin, an NL All-Star this year, has given up 23 earned runs in his past 26 2/3 innings, and his ERA is up to a season-high 3.17.
"It looked like they were really comfortable in there, and that is something that is not good when you are a pitcher," Corbin said.
Mark Ellis had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, and Michael Young drove in a run.
Kemp, making his first start since July 21, doubled on the third pitch he saw from Corbin, knocking the ball into the left field corner to drive in two runs in the first inning. Uribe hit his homer two pitches later for a 4-0 lead.
The Dodgers knocked Corbin out of the game in the second inning, when Gonzalez homered after a walk to Ramirez.
NOTES: Kemp was cleared to play after showing no signs of hesitancy while running the bases in pregame drills, manager Don Mattingly said. "That was kind of a good surprise today," Mattingly said. Kemp struck out as a pinch hitter to end a 2-1 loss Monday. ... Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw, originally scheduled to start Wednesday, was pushed back and will make his next start Saturday, Mattingly said. "We knew he was only going to get two more starts the rest of the year. We felt it was the right time," Mattingly said. Kershaw, 14-9 with a 1.94 ERA in 223 innings, is now in line to start the first game of any Dodgers' playoff series. "That would be a benefit, just by lucky chance it would happen," Mattingly said with a straight face. ... Arizona LHP Matt Reynolds (left elbow) will undergo Tommy John surgery early next week. Dr. James Andrews will perform the operation. Reynolds has been on the disabled list since early June. ... The Dodgers again played without OFs Andre Ethier (ankle) and Carl Crawford (back), although Mattingly said Crawford appeared close to returning.

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