DENVER -- Matt Kemp has had a disappointing season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, one he seems determined to end on a high note. His grand slam helped the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 7-6 to complete a three-game sweep on Wednesday.
"I'm just trying to take something positive into the offseason and go from there," said Kemp, who hit a two-run homer Tuesday night and is batting .248 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs. "End strong and give 'em a little preview of what is to come next year."A day after eliminating the Rockies from postseason contention, Los Angeles sent them to their fourth straight loss.Colorado went 1-5 in its final homestand, part of a stretch in which it lost nine of 10 overall. The Rockies finished 52-29 at Coors Field this season, the second-best home record in franchise history, but faded in the races for the NL West and wild card.Kemp's slam capped a five-run third inning against Jhoulys Chacin (9-11).The Dodgers, who are 78-81, need to sweep their final series of the season at home against Arizona to avoid their first losing season since 2005.
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"It's always nice to win," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said, "but unfortunately that's the best we can do is .500."Chacin struck out seven in five innings, giving him 138 strikeouts for the season and a record for a Rockies rookie. He broke the mark of 134 set by Shawn Chacon in 2001. But after going 4-1 with a 1.20 ERA in his previous seven starts and allowing three runs or fewer in all of them, Chacin failed to win his 10th game."It's really disappointing," Chacin said, "because I have been working hard this year after I got nine [on Sept. 18 at Los Angeles] knew I could win 10 games but a lot of things didn't happen. I'm really happy with my season, and I'll be ready for next year."Chacin allowed seven runs in five innings, but all five in the third were unearned. Kemp's fifth career slam was one of only two hits in the Dodgers' big inning. Chin-Lung Hu doubled, Trent Oeltjen walked with two outs and then third baseman Ian Stewart misplayed Ryan Theriot's grounder. After walking James Loney on five pitches to force in a run, Kemp connected."You don't hit that grand slam if I don't walk," Loney said while walking past Kemp in the Dodgers' clubhouse."He's all happy because he's in the 10-10 club -- 10 homers and 10 stolen bases," Kemp joked.Kemp drove Chacin's 1-0 fastball into the seats in right field."After the walk I got behind him and then I have to throw a strike," Chacin said, "just throw the ball right through the middle and he hit it out of the ballpark."The Dodgers added a run in the fourth on Hu's sacrifice fly, scoring Reed Johnson, who led off with a double. Los Angeles made it 7-3 in the fifth when Oeltjen was hit by a pitch, moved up on catcher Miguel Olivo's throwing error and scored on Loney's single.The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the second when center fielder Kemp broke in a couple steps on a fly ball by Troy Tulowitzki, who wound up with a triple and scored on Todd Helton's sacrifice fly. Tulowitzki went 4 for 4 with a walk and scored four times.Olivo led off the third with his 14th home run and first in 124 at-bats since July 31.Ramon Troncoso (2-3) won in relief of starter Carlos Monasterios, who pitched 4 2/3 innings.Down 7-5, the Rockies loaded the bases with two out in the seventh, but Jeff Weaver relieved George Sherrill and got pinch-hitter Melvin Mora to fly out on the first pitch.The Rockies scored a run in the ninth, but the game ended on Olivo's soft lineout with runners on second and third. Ronald Belisario got his second save.During their 1-9 stretch, the Rockies have lost eight games by two or fewer runs."We've been playing an awful lot of catch-up baseball over the last 10 days," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said, "and that's not a very good formula for success as our record would indicate."
John Ely will start Friday for the Dodgers against Arizona, and Clayton Kershaw will not pitch the rest of the season. Chad Billingsley will start Saturday and Ted Lilly on Sunday. ... Esmil Rogers will start the Rockies' final game of the season Sunday at St. Louis, replacing Jeff Francis, who is 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA in three starts since coming off the disabled list Sept. 13. Rogers has made seven starts, the last on Aug. 31. ... Rockies 3B Ian Stewart made his first start since Aug. 25 and went 0 for 3 with one error. He had been sidelined until Sept. 23 with a right oblique strain and then was ill with the flu. ... The Rockies drew 2,875,245 in 80 home dates, their largest attendance since 2001 (3,159,385).
33,296 (66.1% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
78 degrees, sunny
Home Plate - Gary Darling, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Bill Hohn
Matt Kemp hit his 25th HR of the season, his second straight season with at least 25 HR and 25 doubles.
He is the 9th Dodger with multiple 25-HR/25-2B seasons since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. The others: Ron Cey (2), Dusty Baker (2), Reggie Smith (2), Steve Garvey (3), Pedro Guerrero (3), Raul Mondesi (3), Shawn Green (3), Eric Karros (5)(5