Matt Kemp's 100th RBI Gives Dodgers Walk Off Win
Since Don Mattingly tinkered with the batting order on Monday in St. Louis, the Dodgers have averaged 7 ½ runs in those four games. Mattingly said the focus of the changes was Matt Kemp.
“It was really more with Matt getting him an extra at-bat,” Mattingly said. “We talked about it. Matt’s a three-hole guy: he hits for power, he hits for average.”
In Saturday afternoon’s 7-6 comeback win against the Colorado Rockies, it was Kemp in his sixth at-bat who hit the walk-off homer in the 11th inning recording his 100th RBI of the season.
“If felt pretty good, but any walk-off is a good walk-off,” Kemp said.
Already part of the 30-30 club with 31 home runs and 33 stolen bases, the crowd was chanting “M-V-P” as he rounded the bases. But for Kemp he was proudest of the way the Dodgers persisted throughout the game.
“It’s the old Dodgers I remember,” Kemp announced. “I’m proud of my team. We’ve got to keep it going.”
And just like that all of the offensive troubles plaguing the Dodgers vanished in thin air. Don Mattingly is a genius!
“We’ve done a little better, but that’s coincidence,” Mattingly admitted before the game.
That coincidence, synchronicity or whatever you want to call it reared its head in the sixth inning. To that point the Dodgers were being shut out by Kevin Millwood mustering only three hits. After Aaron Miles and James Loney singled after pinch-hitter Trent Oeltjen popped up to Millwood, things started to get interesting.
Rockies’ manager Jim Tracy put in Matt Belisle to relieve Millwood. Kemp grounded into a fielder’s choice. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff made the right choice throwing home to try to gun down Miles at the plate. Unfortunately catcher Chris Ianetta missed the catch allowing Miles to score. One run in, runners on first and third.
Juan Rivera hit an RBI single to right fielder Carlos Gonzalez scoring Loney. Kemp tried to make it to third base, but Gonzalez made a great throw to get Kemp at the base. Except Kouzmanoff dropped the ball. Two runs in, runners on first and third.
After Andre Ethier was intentionally walked to load the bases,Casey Blake hit a double to left-centerfield that scored Kemp and Rivera. Ethier, naturally not a speedster, tried to give the Dodgers the lead sliding home. Left fielder Seth Smith made a great throw to Ianetta nailing Ethier without a doubt and error. Four runs in, runner on third.
After A.J. Ellis was hit by a pitch, Jamey Carroll singled home Blake. Tracy brought in Rex Brother to get Oeltjen out to end the inning. Five runs, two of which were unearned, gave the Dodgers the 5-4 lead.
And as rough as Chad Billingsley’s outing was, he was actually in line for the win. But Hong-Chih Kuo gave up a single to Carlos Gonzalez and a homer to Troy Tulowitzki to lead off the seventh, and poof the Dodgers were trailing again.
The game kept slogging on until James Loney hit the tying solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game to extra frames. By that point three hours, 56 minutes had elapsed in the game and second-base umpire Bob Davidson had long left the field due to exhaustion and dehydration.
But for four hours, 39 minutes of balk-free baseball, the Dodgers weren’t exhausted. They just kept at it until the moment Kemp touched home plate at 5:40 p.m. when the Dodgers stood tied with the Rockies for third place in the National League West division.