LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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.
Alex Wood (5-5) allowed one run and six hits in six innings. The left-hander struck out three and didn’t walk anyone in recording a win for his fourth straight start. The Dodgers’ defense backed him with double plays in the first and sixth.
Wood was sitting for long stretches while the Dodgers batted around, although he also was busy with four at-bats, getting a hit.
Caleb Ferguson pitched three innings to earn his first major league save on his 22nd birthday.
“A 16-run save,” joked Wood.
Ferguson said, “I didn’t realize it until after the game. It’s awesome, especially on my birthday.”
Yasiel Puig had three hits and drove in four runs in the Dodgers’ second straight win.
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. The right-hander struck out two and walked three making a spot start in place of Chad Kuhl, who is on the disabled list with a forearm strain.
The Dodgers were no kinder to reliever Tanner Anderson, who got tagged for six runs — five earned — and eight hits in two innings of his major league debut.
“First pitch, I was really nervous,” the 2015 Harvard graduate said.
Pirates: INF-OF Sean Rodriguez (right quad strain) began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis. … LHP Enny Romero (left shoulder impingement) was reinstated from the DL and designated for assignment.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler will pitch at Class A-Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday. If it goes well, he will toss a bullpen session on Friday. … LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder inflammation) will have a rehab assignment before he returns.
With a 17-1 lead, Puig wasn’t loafing on defense. Jordy Mercer lined a double into the right-field corner in the seventh and Corey Dickerson took off from second while Puig chased the ball into the corner. If Dickerson was thinking about trying to score, Puig wouldn’t have it. The Cuban threw a flat-footed strike from foul territory that held up Dickerson.
It was the Pirates’ worst loss since falling 20-0 to the Brewers on April 22, 2010, at home. The Bucs allowed season highs in runs and hits, while the Dodgers’ four homers tied a season high.
Pirates RHP Ivan Nova (4-5, 4.02 ERA) starts on Tuesday. He is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers. LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.84) makes his third start for Los Angeles since coming off the DL. He is 2-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 career starts against the Pirates, with 69 strikeouts and 12 walks while holding their batters to a .221 average.