Great Games of 2011-Kemp’s Walk-Off Homerun


One of the many reasons I love the game of baseball so much is that the season is like a drama. The 162 games may induce cheers, tears, frustration, joy, anger, and excitement. The players are part of an ensemble cast whose roles are written on the pages of the season’s impromptu script. Even during a disappointing season there are moments which stay with us in our collective memory. Let’s revisit a few of those memorable Dodger games of 2011.

We were still hopeful for the season on April 17, 2011, yet the Dodgers were in the middle of a five game losing streak. The McCourt divorce along with the Bryan Stow beating on Opening Day left the Dodgers with dwindling attendence. The Dodgers were hosting the Cardinals who were looking to sweep the Dodgers in four games for the first time at Dodger Stadium since 1968. Chad Billingsley took to the mound to try to stop the Red Birds. They had outscored the Dodgers 29-9 in the first three games of the series.

On this Sunday in April, Chad Billingsley dominated the St. Louis lineup. Albert Pujols went 0 for 4, Bills whiffed Freese thrice, Rasmus was 0 for 4, and Berkman struck out twice. Bills ended up allowing only 2 hits to Matt Holliday and struck out 11 Cards. This will be the Bills we need for 2012.

The Dodgers couldn’t muster up any runs either against ace Chris Carpenter, and the game was deadlocked up until the top of the 9th inning. Loney and Uribe were awful at this time, and were hitting a pathetic .150 and .154.

Jonathan Broxton came into pitch the 9th and struck out Rasmus and got Pujols to line out. Holliday proceeded to double off the wall, and Berkman is than intentionally walked to bring up Freese. He blooped one into right field scoring Holliday, 1-0 St. Louis. Molina popped up for the last out.

Trever Miller came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th. Andre Ethier doubled down the line which extended his hitting streak to 14 games at that time. Tony La Russa then brought in closer Ryan Franklin to pitch to Matt Kemp even though Loney and Uribe were after him in the lineup and first base was open. Bison blasts a walk-off homerun to center field to win the game for the Dodgers, and end the losing streak. Kemp’s teammates jumped on him as he crossed home plate in celebration. Little do we know at that time that this was just the beginning of a monumental season for Kemp.

Cardinals 1 4 1
Dodgers 2 7 1