Matt Kemp is used to being an everyday player. With so much talent on the Dodgers, though, he’s had to adjust to not seeing his name in the lineup as often.
“Does he like it?” manager Dave Roberts said. “Probably not, but he understands.”
Kemp is just happy to be playing baseball that matters in September, after being on teams in San Diego and Atlanta that missed the playoffs in recent years.
“This doesn’t get old,” he said after NL West-leading Los Angeles pounded out 16 hits in a 14-0 rout of the San Diego Padres on Sunday. “I’m excited about what’s to come.”
The Dodgers’ division lead remained at 1½ games over Colorado, which won 2-0 at Arizona.
The Dodgers finished their home slate at 44-37. They are 87-69 overall with six games remaining and would need to surpass the NL East champion Atlanta Braves (88-68) to earn home-field advantage in the NL Division Series.
“We do some scoreboard watching,” Kemp said.
Kemp went 3-for-4 — falling a triple shy of the cycle — drove in three runs and scored two on his 34th birthday. Fans in right field serenaded him by singing “Happy Birthday.”
“I haven’t had a triple all year,” he said. “That would have been cool.”
Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-3) pitched six scoreless innings and tied a career high with three hits. The South Korean left-hander allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked none to help the Dodgers take two out of three from the last-place Padres.
“Because the hitters gave me a lead, it was very comfortable pitching,” Ryu said through a translator.
Brian Dozier was the only Dodgers starter without at least one hit. Max Muncy entered as a pinch-hitter and drove in a team-high four runs.
Los Angeles had three homers to extend its NL-leading and club-record total to 225.
Manny Machado and Kemp slugged solo shots in the first, giving Ryu a 2-0 lead.
Kemp’s homer was his 1,000th career RBI, making him the 11th active player to reach that mark.
“It’s tough for all of us,” Kemp said, referring to those who don’t play every day, “but we all got one common goal. Sacrifices have to be made at this moment. The main thing is to get back to the playoffs and back to the World Series.”
Machado’s homer was his 37th this season, matching a career high, and his 13th since the Dodgers acquired him from Baltimore.
Austin Barnes’ two-run homer highlighted a six-run fourth when the Dodgers batted around. David Freese’s two-out RBI single chased Joey Lucchesi (8-9). Machado followed with an RBI single off Trey Wingenter, who then walked Enrique Hernandez to load the bases.
Left fielder Hunter Renfroe had trouble picking up Kemp’s RBI single that added two more runs to make it 8-0.
Muncy had two-run singles in the fifth and seventh.
Ryu’s three singles tied a career high set on April 13, 2013, at Arizona. His two runs scored also equaled a career high set on June 17, 2017, at Cincinnati.
“He’s a big-game pitcher and it showed today,” Roberts said. “A certain moment doesn’t get too big for him.”
Lucchesi, the third straight rookie to start against the Dodgers, gave up a career-high seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. The left-hander struck out six and walked two.
“We can beat them on one given night if we get everything in the lineup correctly,” Padres manager Andy Green said, “but to be able to beat them consistently we’ve got some work to do.”
UTLEY’S LAST STAND
Chase Utley played his last regular-season game at Dodger Stadium. The 39-year-old veteran plans to retire after the season. He took a curtain call before the game and received a standing ovation during an at-bat in the sixth, when fans chanted his last name. He grounded out to second that time and lined out to left in the eighth.
The Dodgers’ home record was their worst since going 42-39 in 2011. They won eight of their last 11 this month at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers had total home attendance of 3,809,684, second-most in franchise history and eighth-largest in National League history. They averaged nearly 47,000 fans a game, the best in the majors by about 4,000 over the New York Yankees.
CAN’T BEAT LA
The Padres went 5-14 against the Dodgers this season, including losing seven of nine on the road.
Padres: RHP Bryan Mitchell (1-4, 6.16 ERA) takes the mound in the opener of a three-game set at San Francisco. He came off the DL on Sept. 1 and earned his first win as a Padre two days later.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.45) starts the opener of a three-game series at third-place Arizona. In 11 second-half starts, he is 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA, with 67 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Source: The Associated Press