Kemp's grab seals Dodgers' win over Giants

Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Fresh off a lengthy stint on the disabled list, Matt Kemp took out a half-season's worth of frustration on the center field wall during Tuesday night's game against the San Francisco Giants.
After sprinting to the warning track to save the Los Angeles Dodgers' win with a game-ending catch off a Marco Scutaro shot, Kemp's momentum carried him into the wall, which he smacked resoundingly while letting out a scream.
It did not shake Dodger Stadium -- the building was already shaking, electric after the now-healthy Dodgers' season-high fourth straight win.
Kemp's catch cut short a San Francisco rally and preserved a tense 6-5 win for the Dodgers.
The Giants (38-39) dropped below .500, while last-place Los Angeles (34-42) pulled within seven games of the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West standings.
Embattled Dodgers reliever Brandon League, who entered the ninth inning with a 6-3 lead, allowed two runs on three hits without recording an out. He was replaced by Paco Rodriguez, who allowed a hit but retired two straight to face Scutaro with two runners on and Buster Posey on deck.
Scutaro drilled a shot to center, but Kemp got a great jump and showed little wear from a right hamstring strain that cost him nearly a month.
"I thought it was a big catch," Kemp said. "I was kind of anticipating Scutaro -- he likes to drive the ball the other way, in those holes, up the middle. I was anticipating him trying to hit a ground ball up the middle. He hit the ball pretty good, so I had to drop my head and run back."
Added Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez: "It's good having (Kemp) back. I think he's going to help in the middle of the lineup. He made an unbelievable catch to save the game. The crowd was crazy."
Rodriguez wound up with his first major league save.
The catch wrapped up the Dodgers' second straight win against San Francisco in a matchup of raw vs. even more raw: The two starting pitchers, Los Angeles' Stephen Fife and San Francisco's Mike Kickham, had less than a dozen major league starts between them.
Fife (2-2) allowed just four hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings in his sixth start of the season. He retired the first 11 batters, and he wound up striking out three while walking two.
"It's been a focus since the first couple starts here that I kinda get out of the gates slow," Fife said. "It's been a focus to get going. Tonight, I recognized immediately my fastball wasn't good, so I was just trying to force contact."
Added Dodgers manager Don Mattingly: "He's been solid as far giving us a guy who keeps us in a game. We really haven't scored that much for him. Tonight we were able to put some runs up for him."
Kickham lasted just 5 1/3 innings and surrendered eight hits and six runs (five earned). It was slightly better than his only previous major league outing, when he allowed four hits and four runs in 2 1/3 innings in a 6-3 loss at Oakland on May 28.
The Dodgers punished Kickham up and down the lineup. Four Los Angeles players tallied multiple hits, and all but the pitcher slot and, surprisingly, Yasiel Puig registered hits.
"I thought I threw pretty well except the times I left the ball up," Kickham said. "I can take some good away from this. I can learn and take those things and work on them heading into my next start."
Mark Ellis, Ramirez, Andre Ethier and Tim Federowicz each had multi-hit games. Kemp slid into the No. 5 hole, and he went 1-for-4.
Brandon Belt went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBIs, and Hunter Pence added two hits and two runs for San Francisco.
The usually homer-unhappy Dodger Stadium was a blastoff zone as the teams combined for three home runs in the first six innings.
Mark Ellis had a two-run home run in the third inning to stake the Dodgers an early lead.
Andres Torres tied the game at 2 in the fifth inning on an RBI groundout to second, after Buster Posey got the Giants on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with a solo home run, his ninth homer of the season.
Los Angeles took the lead in the sixth inning on Ramirez's two-run home run and added two more runs in the inning to give Fife a 6-2 lead.
NOTES: Kemp hit .251 with just two home runs and 17 RBIs in his first 51 games before going on the disabled list in late May. He went 2-for-11 on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque. ... To make room for Kemp, the Dodgers optioned INF Elian Herrera to Triple-A Albuquerque. ... Los Angeles OF Scott Van Slyke is scheduled to continue his rehab assignment on Wednesday with Class A Rancho Cucamonga. ... Giants INF Joaquin Arias strained his hamstring while scoring Monday, and the injury is expected to sideline him for the rest of the series and possibly into San Francisco's next series at Colorado. ... San Francisco INF Angel Pagan had surgery to repair a torn left hamstring. He could be out for up to three months.

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