Dodgers sluggers blast Pirates


Associated Press

LOS ANGELES

Already in line to start his third career All-Star Game and first since 2012, Matt Kemp is keeping up a torrid pace.

Kemp tied a career high with five hits, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy hit back-to-back homers to highlight a six-run fourth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 17-1 on Monday night in the series opener.

Kemp hit a three-run homer in the sixth and drove in four runs for the second straight game. He came up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

He’s notched eight straight hits since Sunday against Colorado; the franchise record is 10.

“It’s been pretty good,” Kemp said. “As a team, we did a pretty good job.”

Fans chanted “MVP! MVP!” as Kemp crossed the plate after his 15th homer of the season. The veteran slugger is the second-leading vote getter among National League outfielders for the July 17 All-Star Game. Kemp also scored four runs.

“It was a clinic tonight, and everyone sort of fed off what he was doing at the plate,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Cody Bellinger homered in the third, leaving the Dodgers with 116 homers this season after they slugged a major league-leading and franchise-record 55 in June. They already have five long balls two days into July.

The Dodgers recorded season highs in hits (21) and runs. They batted around in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, tacking on three runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth for a 17-1 lead.

“You never like when these games happen, but they seem to find a way to happen every now and then,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

The Pirates stumbled from the start.

In the first inning alone, David Freese dropped a throw at first base, starter Nick Kingham balked a runner to third and catcher Elias Diaz missed the target on a throw to the mound for an error by Kingham that allowed Bellinger to score the Dodgers’ second run of the inning.

“It just missed my glove and bounced away,” Kingham said. “No one else was expecting it but the runner on third saw it and he went home.”

Pittsburgh’s third error — by center fielder Austin Meadows — led to the Dodgers scoring their 10th run in the fourth.

The Pirates’ lone run came on Diaz’s homer in the second.

Kingham (3-3) gave up seven runs — five earned — and eight hits in three-plus innings, the rookie’s shortest outing of the season.

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