Matt Kemp Helps Dodgers Start off Road Trip With a Bang

As I said on Twitter after Matt Kemp crushed a Johan Santana pitch into the bleachers in the first inning of tonight’s game, it sure is fun having Kemp back in the lineup. Kemp’s homer was just one of the three times he reached base tonight, as the Dodgers battered Santana for six runs over just three innings, including the first home run of Luis Cruz‘ big league career. Andre Ethier also reached three times, including his 24th double of the season.

Seven runs practically sounds luxurious for this team, yet nothing ever seems to come easy these days. Aaron Harang battled through five innings, but was betrayed by poor defense from Bobby Abreu (zero range in left), Jerry Hairston (two errors on the night), and Cruz (a poor relay throw home), miscues which don’t always appear as unearned runs. Hairston’s play was particularly troubling, as this is now the second time in a week that he’s made multiple errors at third base, and while he’s still producing at the plate, if he’s unable to cover the hot corner, this may force the Dodger hand in trade talks since trying to survive with Juan Uribe & Adam Kennedy is simply not an option.

In relief of Harang, Josh Lindblom struggled in allowing three of the four batters he faced to reach; Shawn Tolleson ran his stretch of consecutive batters retired to 15 before allowing an Ike Davis¬†single¬†and a Jordany Valdespin pinch-hit homer. Fortunately for the Dodgers, the big three of Javy Guerra, Ronald Belisario, & Kenley Jansen finished it off with 2.2 scoreless, allowing just a hit apiece. Considering it had been since something like 1982 that the Dodgers had actually put some runs on the board, it’s a good thing the bullpen held; I’m not quite sure any of us could have handled this game being given away.

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