Matt Kemp obliterated a pitch from Daniel Hudson in the first inning for a three-run home run, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night at Chase Field. The win assured a winning record for the Dodgers (81-78), a remarkable feat considering they were 57-69 on August 21. Kemp has the outright National League lead with both 38 home runs and 123 RBI, but Jose Reyes and Ryan Braun refuse to cooperate in Matt Kemp's triple crown quest.
Kemp's home run was his only hit in four at-bats on Monday, lowering his batting average to .324. Reyes collected three hits in four at-bats for the New York Mets against the Cincinnati Reds, and is now leading the NL with a .333962 average. Braun didn't start for the Milwaukee Brewers, but hit a pinch-hit double against the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving him an average of .333932, very narrowly behind Reyes but miles ahead of Kemp.
Even if Kemp were to collect six hits in eight at-bats over the final two days of the regular season, his batting average would be .3295. He would need an 0-for-8 slump from both Braun (.3292) and Reyes (.3290) to win the batting title.
Oh well, at least Kemp still has two days left to join the 40/40 club. He needs two home runs.
Dana Eveland pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the win, walking none and striking out five. Eveland is 3-0 in three road starts for the Dodgers, allowing a total of one run. Jerry Sands extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the eighth inning Monday night.
Hiroki Kuroda starts for the Dodgers on Tuesday night, in what could be his last start with the team. Kuroda will be a free agent after the season, and he has not yet decided whether or not to return to the Dodgers or home to his native Japan. Jarrod Parker, the ninth overall selection in the 2007 MLB draft, starts for the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, making his major league debut.
For more on the Dodgers and Kemp's quest for the Crown, check out True Blue LA.