Kemp’s Clutch Home Run Saves The Dodgers Bacon, and Ties The Series


If there was a carbon copy of game 1, today’s game 2 of the Dodger’s NLDS against the Cardinals was it. Sort of. The Dodgers jumped out in front to an early 2-0 lead, and everything seemed rosy again. The Dodgers were on top, the bubbles were flying and we were all happy. The Dodgers needed a commanding performance from Zack Greinke or face going down 2-0 headed back to St. Louis for game 3. The Dodgers got exactly that from the feathered right hander, including two hits from his potent bat.


Cardinals 2 5 1

Dodgers   3 8 0 -Game 2





Series tied 1-1

Speaking of potent bats, Matt Kemp‘s isn’t bad. I mean he sure doesn’t stink. It was Kemp’s eighth inning blast that won the game for the Dodgers, and potentially saved their season from disaster.

After all this was a must win for the Dodgers. Zack Greinke gave them exactly what they needed, a flawless performance. Greinke’s seven shutout innings was enough to almost get the Dodgers to the finish line. But then things started to come unraveled again in the late innings. Those damn Cardinals just won’t die.

Don Mattingly gave Greinke the early hook that he should have given to Clayton Kershaw last night. He pulled Greinke after 100 pitches and went to the bullpen. But after the Dodgers called upon left hander J.P. Howell things started to become unraveled again.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras who singled in that hellish seventh inning yesterday, poked a base hit past Gonzo and down the right field line. The Dodgers had a chance to tag him out as he rounded first, but the throw was off line as Gonzo and Howell nearly collided. Then heart break. Matt Carpenter again! His crushed two-run bomb into the right field pavilions instantly tied the game, and sent Dodger Stadium into stunned silence. How can the same crap happen to the same team twice! I’m starting to sound like Bruce Willis in Die Hard.

But Matt Kemp had a different idea. His clutch solo home run inside the left field foul pole to lead off the eighth inning off Pat Neshek put the Dodgers back on top 3-2. Matt Kemp saved the Dodgers season, as Dodger Stadium went back into a frenzy.

But it’s important to know how they got there. Greinke began the game looking very sharp. Things looked good. Greinke started the game by hitting Jon Jay in the foot with a pitch, and whiffing matt Holliday.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Greinke continued his dominant pitching throughout the game, as he did not allow a hit until Kolten Wong’s double in the fifth frame. In that inning, He whiffed Grichuk, and opposing starter Lance Lynn to keep the Cardinals off the board.

The Dodgers were able to score twice in the bottom of the third, even though Lynn had his good stuff as well. A.J. Ellis doubled off the wall in left center despite a leaping attempt against the wall by Jon Jay  Grichuk. Then Greinke singles to left to send A.J. to third with none out.

Awww what’s wrong Lance?-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dee Gordon’s grounder appeared to be a double play, but second baseman Wong’s tag on Greinke was with the empty glove and not the hand that was holding the ball. The Dodgers challenged the play and won as Greinke was safe at second. Gordon was still out at first, but A.J. scored from third on the play to put the Dodgers up 1-0.

After Yasiel Puig whiffed, Adrian Gonzalez’s RBI single to left scored Greinke to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. All seemed well again. But we’ve been here before.

As Greinke cruised through the game, it became apparent that he had his good stuff. The red-hot Carpenter doubled again to lead-off the sixth inning. But Greinke got Jay to ground to Hanley, and whiffed Holliday to get two outs. After he walked Matt Adams, he whiffs Peralta, and the Dodgers were through six with a two-run lead.

Greinke pitched another scoreless inning in the top of the seventh, and it looked like the Dodgers may have been out of the woods. Greinke threw seven shutout frames allowing just two hits, two walks, a hit batter, and whiffing seven. He threw 100 pitches.

So in the top of the eighth, and Greinke at 100 pitches, Mattingly decided to give him the early hook that he should have given Kershaw in game 1. In comes left hander J.P. Howell to face pinch-hitter Taveras. The Cardinal sub singled inside the first base line to put the lead-off runner aboard for the Cardinals. Uh-oh.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Then Carpenter crushed Howell’s very next pitch halfway up the right field pavilion seats to tie the game at 2-2. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! How can this happen again?! Dodger Stadium was stunned into silence. More evil Cardinal October mojo. No more Baseball gods, no mas!

Howell couldn’t even get out of the inning after that he was so upset. Jay beat out an infield single to shortstop Miguel Rojas, who had replaced Hanley for defensive reasons. Holliday’s grounder moved Jay to second. Mattingly hooks Howell to bring in right hander Brandon League to get a double play.

Oh you son of a…. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

He intentionally walks Adams, to try and set this up. Finally something works our way, when League gets the double play ball we desperately needed. Peralta’s DP grounder was just what the doctor ordered. League pumps his first as he gets the Dodgers out of the inning.

In the top of the eighth, and Neshek on the mound, Matt Kemp had finally had enough of the Cardinal’s crap. He wasn’t having any of this anymore. He crushes a Neshek offering down the left field line just inside the foul pole, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead and sending Chavez Ravine into a crazed frenzy of celebration. Dodgers lead 3-2!!!!

Kenley Jansen finished it off to tie the series. He got Molina to ground out and whiffed Wong, and Grichuk to end the game. Dodgers win and this series is tied!!!!

What a relief! That home run from Kemp was clutch. One of the clutchiest shots We’ve seen since Uribe’s in last year’s NLDS. Thank god the Dodgers didn’t trade him. Let’s also not forget Greinke’s performance, and League’s double play in the eighth that kept the game tied. Does anyone remember Puig getting the sombrero? Me neither.

Now the Dodgers have a real chance to win this. They’ll fly to St. Louis for game 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday night. Our Bluetober dreams rest in the hands of Hyun-jin Ryu. While the Cardinals will counter with John Lackey in game 3. Take a breather Dodger fam! We’re still in this thing!

Go Blue!