LOS ANGELES -- Not since Matt Kemp went swimming in the Chase Field pool has he caused such grief for the D-backs as he did at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, when he launched a three-run homer off Archie Bradley in the eighth inning to give the Dodgers a second consecutive stunning comeback win, 3-2.
The victory pulled the Dodgers into a tie with Arizona for first-place in the National League West, with Colorado one-half game back. The Dodgers are 2-1 in this showdown series and 6-9 in the season series. They were 4 1/2 games back, then they won seven of their last eight games.
"Biggest win of the year so far," said starter Clayton Kershaw, who drew a seven-inning no-decision. "Big crowd tonight. I think they understood the magnitude of this game, and you felt it."
Starter-turned-reliever Kenta Maeda (8-0) got the win and Kenley Jansen his second save in as many nights (34 overall), although Jansen needed a circus stop by Enrique Hernandez at second base to rob David Peralta of a hit leading off the ninth.
"That was sick," Jansen said of the diving stop and perfect thrown while flat on his back. One out later, Nick Ahmed doubled, underscoring the importance of Hernandez's play.
For eight innings, the Dodgers' offense was dormant, while the D-backs ambushed Kershaw for first-pitch home runs in the second and sixth innings by Eduardo Escobar and pinch-hitter Christian Walker, who has two homers this year, both of the pinch-hit variety off Kershaw.
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Then came the bottom of the eighth, and the Dodgers' second straight comeback, a trend reminiscent of 2017.
With one out, Justin Turner, who homered for the win on Friday night, bounced a well-placed single between first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and second baseman Ketel Marte into right field. Manny Machado worked Bradley for a 10-pitch walk, which teammates noted made Kemp's blast possible.
"He could have very easily got anxious to hit, but he took his walk," an admiring Turner said of Machado. "Unbelievable at-bat by him to pass the baton to Matt. That's about the loudest I've heard Dodger Stadium."
The struggling Kemp, who had struck out the two previous at-bats, fell behind Bradley, 1-2, then launched his 427-foot game-winner to center when Bradley doubled up and threw back-to-back curves. Kemp is 7-for-15 in his career against the D-backs setup man.
"Matt's a fastball hitter, so for him to hit that breaking ball out, that was pretty awesome," said Kershaw.
It was Kemp's 19th homer of the year but only his second since July 22, when he was batting .316. He entered Saturday play batting .283.
"Baseball is a game of ups and downs," said Kemp. "Not many guys stay hot the whole season. Coming into September, we're treating every game like it's a playoff game. That's the mentality we have to have with those guys over there. They're not going to quit."
Bradley said it was one bad pitch, and just one loss.
"It was a bad one," he said. "One-two, a hitter like that, it's got to be a better pitch than that. It was supposed to be down off the plate. You can see it from the beginning, it just kind of rolled out on me. Not a good pitch to him.
"You want to put the loss on me? Put it on me. I gave up three hits, three runs. Put it on me. But if you think one game in September is going to define me or this team, then go ahead. Count us out. It's one game in September. We have 29 more."
It was the 2013 Dodgers who celebrated their division title with a party in the Chase Field pool. The only current Dodgers from that club are Kemp, Kershaw, Jansen, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Yasiel Puig.
In his Dodgers debut, David Freese went 1-for-2, was hit by a pitch and made an error-saving scoop at first base. Fellow newcomer Ryan Madson has yet to make his first appearance out of the bullpen.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Hernandez started the game in center field, then moved to right field before being switched to second base for the ninth inning, just in time to rob Peralta of a hit that might have saved the game. Hernandez has played every position this year except catcher.
"That was a game saver," said manager Dave Roberts of Hernandez's play in the ninth.
"Absolutely ridiculous," said Turner.
HE SAID IT
"All that stuff is in the past. Every time you put up a zero gets your confidence even higher." -- Jansen, rebounding with back-to-back saves after the worst stretch of his career
Walker Buehler opposes Clay Buchholz and the D-backs in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT series finale. Buehler is coming off his shortest start of the year, four innings in Texas, where he was removed after 84 pitches despite leading. He wasn't hit hard and some close pitches didn't go his way, so there was some bad luck involved.