Kemp homers again, Dodgers lose 6-2 to Rockies
DENVER—Matt Kemp finished a memorable and historic April with his 12th home run for the Dodgers. But he also struck out with the bases loaded Monday night, helping to thwart a potential rally that enabled the Colorado Rockies to beat Los Angeles 6-2.
Kemp homered in the first, driving Juan Nicasio's first pitch into the seats in right field for his 25th RBI. But he came up in the seventh with none out and the bases loaded and went down swinging against Esmil Rogers, the first of three relievers that inning who stymied the Dodgers and helped end their three-game winning streak.
Left-hander Rex Brothers then came on and struck out Andre Ethier. When pinch hitter Juan Rivera was announced to bat for James Loney, a left-handed hitter, Rockies manager Jim Tracy countered with right-hander Edgmer Escalona, who got out Rivera to pop out.
"We didn't get the job done. That's it, man," Kemp said. "They got us out."
Rogers struck out Kemp on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, a 2-2 slider over the inside portion of the plate that Kemp swung through.
"I said to myself, `Don't try to throw it too nasty. Just follow through with my pitch,'" Rogers said. "And I got a strikeout."
Kemp finished the month with a .417 average and joined Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 2004, Larry Walker (Rockies, 1997) and Hall of Famer Tony Perez (Cincinnati Reds, 1970) as the only players in major league history to finish April with a .400 batting average, 10 or more homers and more than 20 RBI.
Asked whether he was aware he had just completed one of the better statistical Aprils, Kemp said, "I'm just aware that we lost the game. I'm not really worried about historical, statistical -- any of that. I'm just trying to help my team win as many games as I can and whatever happens, happens."
Nicasio (2-0) held the Dodgers to two runs in six innings and left after giving up consecutive singles to start the seventh to Jerry Hairson and Dee Gordon and throwing a career-high 115 pitches. Rogers walked Mark Ellis to load the bases, but then struck out Kemp as the Dodgers' rally fizzled against the Rockies relievers.
Aaron Harang (1-2) threw 100 pitches in 5 1-3 innings and allowed five runs as his troubles in Coors Field continued. In six starts there, Harang is 2-2 but has a 6.40 ERA (23 earned runs, 32 1/3 innings). Harang gave up a run in the first when Marco Scutaro led off with a double, moved to third and scored on two ground outs. After Scutaro's hit, Harang retired nine straight batters, including four in a row on strikeouts before the Rockies struck for three runs in the fourth.
Jonathan Herrera led off the fourth with a single. After Carlos Gonzalez walked, Troy Tulowitzki lined a two-run double into the left-field corner with Gonzalez just beating shortstop Gordon's relay throw.
"This is a tough matchup for him," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Harang. "They got a lot of guys with (good) numbers off Aaron...He kept us in the game. He gives us a chance."
The Dodgers finished April 16-7, the best record in the National League and second in the majors to the Texas Rangers (17-6).
"(We) had a really good month," Kemp said. "Can't really ask for much better. We've been in almost every single game except for I think one down in Houston. We've done everything we've needed to do so far this month, and now we got to turn the page and get ready for this next month."
In addition to Kemp, Ethier had a productive month, hitting .276 with five homers and 24 RBI. They've accounted for 17 of the team's 20 homers and 49 of 88 RBI.
"We've got to get more balanced," Mattingly said. "Matt and Andre, they're at a pace that history says they can't really sustain. Or maybe they can, but it's really asking a lot. We're going to have to get production around them."
Nontheless, Mattingly said he was happy with the Dodgers torrid April that included an 11-4 record in games decided by two or fewer runs and a 3.13 ERA.
"But it's way too early to be thinking anything other than we've got off to a good start," Mattingly said. "We played well. We've won some close games. We've showed some good things, but we've just to keep going."
NOTES: The six runs the Dodgers allowed are the most since yielding 12 April 22 at Houston. ... With a second-inning walk, Dodgers C A.J. Ellis has reached safely in 14 consecutive games. ... Dodgers RHP Todd Coffey was reinstated from a 16-day stay on the disabled list because of inflammation in his right knee. RHP Nathan Eovaldi was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga.