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Kemp hits 8th home run, Dodgers beat Astros 3-1

Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp rounds the bases on a two-run home run against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 20, 2012, in Houston. Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp rounds the bases on a two-run home run against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 20, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
By Kristie Rieken
AP Sports Writer / April 20, 2012
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HOUSTON—Matt Kemp homered again, one of his three hits, and drove in two runs to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Kemp's eighth home run of the season was a two-run shot off J.A. Happ that put Los Angeles up 2-0 in the first inning and gave him 20 RBIs this season. It also tied Kemp with Wally Moon for the Dodgers record for most home runs through 14 games.

Ted Lilly (2-0) had another solid start for Los Angeles, allowing four hits and one run in six innings. He also won his season debut by allowing two hits in seven innings last Saturday.

Javy Guerra pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save.

All of Kemp's homers this season have been opposite-field shots to right. He leads the majors in homers and is batting .481.

Kemp reached safely in each of his plate appearances Friday, walking in the third and collecting singles in the fifth and seventh. He has a nine-game hitting streak and homered for the second straight game.

Andre Ethier had a run-scoring single in the third to push the lead to 3-0 and pick up his 19th RBI.

Kemp and Ethier are first and second in the majors in RBIs and have driven in all but 24 of the team's runs this season.

Brian Bogusevic hit a two-out single, stole second base and scored on a single by Chris Snyder to cut the lead to 3-1 in the fourth.

The Astros missed an opportunity in the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs, but came away empty when Jed Lowrie grounded into a force out to end the inning.

They were unable replicate the offensive outburst from their last game when they had a season-high 17 hits and scored 11 runs in a win over the Nationals, which broke a four-game losing streak.

Lilly seemed to struggle with command early and walked consecutive batters with two outs in the first inning. He escaped that jam when Chris Johnson grounded into a force out.

Happ (1-1) yielded eight hits and three runs while walking four in six innings.

The win was the Dodgers' second straight after they lost consecutive games for the first time this season earlier this week.

NOTES: Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said infielder Juan Uribe's injured wrist was feeling better and he expects him to start Sunday. The manager said before the game that Uribe was available to pinch-hit Friday, but he didn't use him. ... Mattingly turned 51 on Friday. ... Houston OF Travis Buck missed the game with a strained left hamstring. ... The series continues Saturday when Los Angeles left-hander Clayton Kershaw faces Kyle Weiland.

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