Kemp does the dramatics again, two-run homer lifts Dodgers over Braves in 12 innings, 5-3
Is this how they played games in the ’40s?
Up and down, long and winding, blown leads and then dramatic comebacks?
It worked for the Dodgers on their throwback jersey Thursday when Matt Kemp overcame a rough afternoon by hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th to leave the Dodgers with a 5-3 victory over the Braves.
It was Kemp’s second walk-off home run of the eight-game homestand. Kemp was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Thursday in his Brooklyn uniform until connecting off Atlanta/Boston reliever Cristhian Martinez (the Braves wore throwbacks for their franchise's original hometown too).
The victory evened the Dodgers' record at 10-10, and left them 2-0 under Major League Baseball control.
The Dodgers, who were 14th in the National League in home runs, had three on the day.
After the Braves took a 3-2 lead on a pair of runs with a two-out rally in the top of the ninth, the Dodgers tied the game in the bottom of the inning against Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel on a two-out single by Casey Blake. Blake also homered Thursday.
Starter Clayton Kershaw had been breezing, just one out away from the Dodgers’ second consecutive complete-game four-hitter, when it all came undone.
He had a one-run lead in the ninth and had retired the first two Atlanta Braves. He was one out away from his second career complete game.
That brought a visit to the mound by Manager Don Mattingly, and seemingly the end of Kershaw’s afternoon. Kershaw had already thrown 119 pitches.
But Mattingly turned away from the mound to cheers, leaving Kershaw behind with the chance to finish it against ex-Dodger David Ross.
Ross had only one RBI on the young season, but his soft single to left scored two and left the Braves up, 3-2.
Jonathan Broxton came on to get the ninth’s final out, Kershaw finishing by allowing five hits, walking four and striking out seven. Known for not going deep into games, he threw 122 pitches.
He had a two-hitter going into the ninth. The only run he had allowed was a solo home run to Freeman in the fifth.
The Dodgers countered that with solo home runs from Juan Uribe, his first of the season, and Blake, also his first. Blake’s home run in the seventh put the Dodgers up, 2-1.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Matt Kemp hits a two-run home run in the 12th inning to lift the Dodgers to a 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday afternoon. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times