LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have sole possession of first place again and Matt Kemp got them there, duplicating his Saturday night magic off Arizona reliever Archie Bradley on Sunday with a walk-off two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning for another electrifying 3-2 win.Trailing by 4 1/2
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have sole possession of first place again and Matt Kemp got them there, duplicating his Saturday night magic off Arizona reliever Archie Bradley on Sunday with a walk-off two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning for another electrifying 3-2 win.
Trailing by 4 1/2 games on Aug. 23, the Dodgers have won eight of nine, including three of the four games of this showdown series to lead the alone division for the first time since Aug. 7. The four games were decided by a total of five runs. The teams play again in Arizona on Sept. 24-26. The D-backs lead the season series, 9-7.
"We have some weapons," said Kemp. "It's September and like I said last night, we got to finish strong and let's go. Two big wins we got, especially in those situations. We have a dangerous group of guys."
Kemp wasn't even in the starting lineup Sunday, but after being traded by three teams in the past four years, he doesn't take a lineup card as a slight, not even after blasting a three-run game-winner the night before.
"The thing that hasn't wavered is his focus and desire to win," manager Dave Roberts said of Kemp. "We've had many conversations about whatever role or expectations I have for him. His only focus is to win baseball games. To not start today, after hitting a game-winning home run, to be ready when called upon and help us win a game, the credit goes to him."
With Player Page for Max Muncy's 31st home run in the fifth inning, Dodgers starter Walker Buehler made it into the seventh inning before the D-backs tied the game when it appeared Cody Bellinger had thrown out Paul Goldschmidt at the plate, only for the call to be overturned on review.
Daniel Descalso homered off Caleb Ferguson leading off the top of the ninth, when Roberts tried to milk a fourth out from Ferguson and trim the workload of Kenley Jansen, who pitched for a third consecutive game and got the win. Descalso has 12 home runs this year and four in 37 at-bats against the Dodgers.
Trailing by a run, Roberts initially sent right-hander Chris Taylor to lead off the ninth and face lefty Andrew Chafin. Arizona countered with right-hander Brad Boxberger, and Roberts responded by pulling Taylor for rookie left-handed pinch-hitter Alex Verdugo, who walked. Muncy followed with another walk, and Enrique Hernandez bunted them over and Tim Locastro ran for Muncy.
"I was a little surprised by it," Roberts said of the pitching change from Chafin to Boxberger. "Taylor's had some success against them. For us to pull him back and get the matchup, it worked out."
Kemp, who entered in a seventh-inning double-switch, was next and Arizona manager Torey Lovullo went back to Bradley for the same matchup that failed him the night before. Kemp is 8-for-16 in his career against Bradley.
"I was a little surprised they took out Boxberger," Kemp said. "I don't care. We won the game. When I was walking up to the plate, they were showing what happened last night. I wasn't thinking about hitting a home run. I was thinking of getting one run in and luckily, I got two."
Kemp's Saturday night homer came on a 1-2 curve, but this time he ripped a first-pitch fastball off the fence in center.
"We said he was going to do it again. That's why we call him Hollywood, he likes the big moments," Bellinger said of the dugout groupthink when Bradley came in to face Kemp.
"I think we've had our mojo back, but I think this series kind of clarified that. This was a crazy series. The two best teams in the division, a lot of back and forth and it was nice for us to come out on top."
Said Bradley: "We're going back home, don't panic, we're going to be fine. We've got to wash our hands, shower up and get the hell out of L.A."
• Buehler gets X-rays on foot
This was the Dodgers' first-ever win of a home four-game series with Arizona.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Until Kemp's game-winner, it was hard to separate the two most amazing moments of the game, both involving Dodgers center fielder Bellinger. In the seventh inning, he appeared to throw out Goldschmidt at the plate trying to tag from third. Although the play eventually was overturned on review, in the celebration that followed, Bellinger chest-bumped left fielder Joc Pederson and knocked him to the ground. More >>
HE SAID IT
"Everybody wants to be in that big moment. They don't always work out, but when they do, they feel really good." -- Kemp
Alex Wood opens the series with the Mets Monday night and faces Jacob deGrom in the 5:10 p.m. PT Labor Day start. The Dodgers are avoiding using Wood against the toughest lineups, but he was dominant in his last start against the Rangers with seven scoreless innings.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.