PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 15: Outfielder Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives teammates after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 15, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks 6-4. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Kemp, Kershaw Lead Dodgers To Fifth Straight Win

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Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera Back Clayton Kershaw In Dodgers' Win Over D-Backs, 6-4

The Dodgers picked up right where they left off before the break, beating the Diamondbacks 6-4 at Chase Field on Friday night to win their fifth straight game. Matt Kemp got back his power stroke, homering and driving in four runs, and Juan Rivera hit the first pitch he saw in a Dodgers uniform over the left field wall. Clayton Kershaw didn't allow a run until the seventh inning, and the bullpen came on to preserve the victory.

Rivera lined a pitch from former Angels teammate Joe Saunders in the second inning over the left field wall to give the Dodgers a 1-0 win. Kemp, who hadn't homered in 12 games and 50 plate appearances, and finished last place in Monday's Home Run Derby at Chase Field, ended his power drought with a ball over the bullpen in left field, a two-run home run giving the Dodgers a 4-0 lead in the sixth inning. Kemp delivered a two-run single one inning later.

The Dodgers had allowed just one total run in their previous four games, and Friday night looked like more of the same under Clayton Kershaw. He didn't allow a run until the seventh inning, when Arizona took advantage of a Juan Uribe miscue to extend the inning. Xavier Nady hit a three-run home run off Kershaw to cut the lead to 6-4. Mike MacDougal, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Javy Guerra recorded the final six outs to close out the win.

SB Nation Arizona captured the postgame reaction from the other side, including Diamondbacks' manager Kirk Gibson unhappy with the team's sloppy play and poor middle relief. The Dodgers have won 10 of their last 14 games in Arizona.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Dodgers Vs. Diamondbacks: Friday Starting Lineups

The Dodgers look to extend their winning streak to five games Friday night, as they open a three-game series at Chase Field against the Diamondbacks. Clayton Kershaw takes the hill for the Dodgers, facing Joe Saunders of Arizona. Here are tonight's starting lineups:

Dodgers (41-51)

Furcal SS
Uribe 3B
Ethier RF
Kemp CF
Rivera LF
Loney 1B
Navarro C
Carroll 2B
Kershaw P

Diamondbacks (49-43)

Bloomquist LF
Johnson 2B
Upton RF
Young CF
Drew SS
Roberts 3B
Montero C
Nady 1B
Saunders P

Tonight's 6:40 p.m. PDT game will be televised on Prime Ticket. For more news and information on the Dodgers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Kershaw, Dodgers Open Three-Game Series Against Diamondbacks In Phoenix

After four days off, the Dodgers are back on the field Friday night, in Phoenix to battle the Diamondbacks in the start of a three-game series. Three days after pitching a scoreless inning in his All-Star debut, Clayton Kershaw gets the start for the Dodgers, who have won four straight games. Joe Saunders gets the call for Arizona.

Both teams have made some minor tweaks to their rosters this week. The Dodgers on Tuesday traded for Juan Rivera, and designated Marcus Thames for assignment. Catcher Rod Barajas was activated from the disabled list on Thursday, with backstop A.J. Ellis getting optioned to Triple A to make room. The Dodgers held a full squad workout Thursday night at Chase Field.

Arizona designated Wily Mo Pena for assignment yesterday, and outrighted Juan Miranda to Triple A. Pena would rank fourth on the Dodgers with his five home runs, in just 46 PA, but that was just about all Pena did, hitting .196/.196/.522. First baseman Brandon Allen was recalled from Triple A Reno, where he was hitting .306/.427/.579 with 18 home runs in 83 games. Infielder Geoff Blum was also activated from the disabled list.

Tonight's 6:40 p.m. PDT game will be televised on Prime Ticket. For more news and information on the Dodgers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Dodgers Activate Rod Barajas From DL; Option A.J. Ellis

The Dodgers open their post-All-Star break schedule with three games in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks. On Thursday, they held  a full team workout at Chase Field in Arizona, among other things welcoming their newest acquisition, Juan Rivera. The Dodgers also welcomed back catcher Rod Barajas, activating him from the disabled list on Thursday, and optioned A.J. Ellis back to Albuquerque.

Optioning Ellis certainly isn't surprising, as he still has options remaining. But while Ellis doesn't have any power -- no home runs in the majors or minors since 2008 -- he does get on base every so often, something Barajas and Dioner Navarro haven't done. Ellis has a .364 OBP this season and a .344 OBP in his career.

It looked as though Ellis might stay once Barajas was activated, as he started eight of 11 games during one stretch, but Navarro had a pair of big hits last weekend, including a game-winning single on Saturday against the Padres. I don't know if that was the reason Navarro was kept, but he is just hitting .183/.234/.287 on the season so there's not much reason to keep him around. The Dodgers could likely go with Ellis next season as their backup catcher, as he will be out of options, so might as well give him some time this season.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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