LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Brad Penny was staked to a huge early lead for the second straight start. Only this time, he stayed in long
enough to get the victory because he didn't give manager Grady Little much of a choice.
Penny allowed one hit over six scoreless innings in his first start since his blowup with Little, rookie Matt Kemp homered for the third consecutive game and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-2 on Saturday.
Penny (6-1) won his fourth straight decision, throwing 112 pitches in hot and muggy conditions and leaving with a 6-0 lead. The right-hander struck out seven and walked four while allowing only one runner past second base.
In Penny's previous outing last Monday in Atlanta, the Dodgers gave him a 7-0 cushion after two innings. But Little pulled him two outs shy of the required five innings for a win after the Braves narrowed the gap to 7-4 with six straight hits. Penny threw a tantrum in the dugout, taking a bat to the water cooler and voicing his displeasure in full view of TV cameras. Penny patched things up with Little about 48 hours later.
"It's over with," Penny said. "We already talked, so it's over with and we'll move on."
To the Phillies, who haven't been shut out all season, Penny didn't look like a pitcher who was distracted by outside elements.
"He's a professional, so I imagine he put it behind him," Chase Utley said. "He was throwing his breaking ball for strikes, and we never capitalized on any of his mistakes. We followed our game plan. We just didn't get any big hits when we needed them. Obviously, it didn't help that we were down 6-0 just like that."
The Dodgers, who lead the NL in batting average, runs, hits and on-base percentage, have scored 28 runs in Penny's last three starts. The right-hander is off to his best start since 2001 with the Florida Marlins, when he won seven of his first eight decisions and finished 10-10.
The Phillies got their only hit against Penny when Aaron Rowand
drove a tailing fastball to right-center for a double with two outs in the fourth after a one-out walk to Pat Burrell. Little and his pitcher had a brief discussion on the mound before Penny retired
David Bell on a popup.
"He just came out there to give me a breather," Penny said. "They're a good team all through their lineup and they built my pitch count up, but today I was pitching in successfully and that helped out a lot. I had some good defensive plays behind me and we scored a lot of runs. It's easier to pitch when you've got a big lead."
Nomar Garciaparra went 3-for-5 with an RBI double, helping the Dodgers win for the 12th time in 16 games and remain a half-game behind Arizona in the NL West. J.D. Drew highlighted a four-run first with a two-run double and Jose Cruz Jr. also doubled home a
Eude Brito (0-1) was charged with six runs and nine hits over four innings and did not strike out a batter in his sixth major-league start and first since Sept. 24. The left-hander was called up on Friday from Scranton Wilkes-Barre after the Phillies optioned righty Gavin Floyd to their Triple-A club.
Brito gave up singles to his first three batters and Drew followed with a drive to the gap in left-center that scored Rafael Furcal and Cruz. Garciaparra came home on Willy Aybar's groundout and Utley lost Joel Guzman's two-out popup to second base in the sun, allowing Drew to score the fourth run.
Cruz and Garciaparra made it 6-0 in the fourth with two-out RBI doubles and Kemp added a two-run homer to center field in the seventh on a 2-2 changeup from Clay Condrey.
Kemp has homered in all three games he has played at Dodger Stadium since his promotion from Double-A Jacksonville on May 28. His others were on a a 1-0 slider by Floyd on Thursday night and an 0-1 fastball by Ryan Madson on Friday night.
"I guess I showed I can hit all three pitches," a beaming Kemp said. "I'm still kind of on Cloud 9 right now. I'm feeling good, I'm seeing the ball well, getting some good pitches to hit, and they're going out of the ballpark right now. I'm glad I'm helping my team win. I'm surprised I'm up here, but I'm glad, and I'm just trying to stay here."
Dodgers closer Eric Gagne, who made his long-awaited return from elbow surgery with a hitless ninth inning in Friday night's 8-6 loss, was not available to pitch on Saturday. "He'll be working back-to-back plenty of times, but not this quickly," Little said. ... Left-hander Odalis Perez, who has made only four relief appearances during his month in the Dodgers' bullpen, will make his first start since May 2 next Wednesday against the Mets. ... Right-hander Jae Seo was scheduled to start for the Dodgers on Wednesday against his former club, but was demoted to the pen until further notice after another lackluster outing Friday night.