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Dodgers: Kemp Sparks Offense While Kuroda Does the Rest

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It was a script that the Dodgers seemed doomed to repeat: starting pitcher notches a quality start; Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles hits singles at the top of the order; Dodgers are shutout because no one else can hit. The rain must have washed this script clean as the Dodgers finally got some timely hits in their 3-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

“We’re pretty used to these by now,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “It was good.”

Of course it took old friend and Brewers’ starter Randy Wolf to help things out. His struggles in the first inning - a career 4.71 ERA in the first inning is the worst out of the first six innings he pitches - gave the Dodgers the rare two-out rally: Andre Ethier walked which set the stage for Matt Kemp’s homer to right-centerfield, the second homer of the month for Kemp.

“It definitely felt good,” Kemp remarked. “We really haven’t been doing a good job on offense for our pitchers. We definitely need to step up offensively and score more runs.”

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However Mattingly did have concerns with placing too much pressure on both Ethier and Kemp. “Talking to both of those guys today, they got to continue to do their thing and not try to do too much.”

“Sometimes you force the situation and you try and do too much when you’re struggling,” Kemp acknowledged. “I want to do good but let it happen and not force it.”

Well he certainly did do good in the sixth inning when he chased down a ball crushed to centerfield by Prince Fielder and grabbed it just before it hit the top of the wall.

“Here tonight, you’ve got to crush that thing to get it out,” Mattingly remarked. I guess that just makes Kemp’s homer that much more remarkable.

The beneficiary of this was Hiroki Kuroda (W, 5-3) who continued to keep the Dodger starters rolling. Pitching 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball, not only has Kuroda pitched 14 2/3 innings of scoreless ball but he also gave the Dodgers their ninth quality start in the last ten games.

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“I don’t know what’s working,” Kuroda noted. “Eventually you’re going to give up a run, but until then you just have to work hard and do your best.”

“He pitched a hell of a game,” Kemp said.

Perhaps the most befuddling moment of the game for Kuroda came in the eighth inning when making a pickoff play to first base, first base umpire Bob Davidson called Kuroda for his first Major League balk and third overall in his career.

“I understood why he called it,” Kuroda said.

Mattingly took Kuroda out of the game with two outs in the eighth inning to bring in Kenley Jansen to face Prince Fielder. Seemingly unwilling to challenge Fielder, Jansen not only walked him on four pitches but also got a three-ball count on Casey McGehee before finally recording a strike. Jansen finally got McGehee to pop up to first baseman James Loney in foul territory to end the inning.

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With that scare the Dodgers got the insurance run in the eighth inning when Jerry Sands hit a double scoring Juan Uribe who walked to lead off the eighth.

“I didn’t mind that insurance run at the end,” Mattingly said. “That was nice.”

Getting the save for the Dodgers was Matt Guerrier, not Vicente Padilla who complained of a stiff forearm.

“It didn’t sound like it’s in the same exact area,” Mattingly said. “Hopefully tomorrow he’s ready.”

But Guerrier filled in just nicely striking out two while retiring the side in order for his first save of the season. Guerrier now has one save in the last six seasons - not bad for a non-closer.

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Oakland Athletics defeat LA Angels 14-0.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

San Francisco Giants at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

LA Angels at Seattle Mariners. 7:10 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA. \