With a major league-best eight homers and 20 RBI this season, Matt Kemp continues to power the Dodgers to one of their best starts in recent years.
The Los Angeles center fielder went deep again last night in a 3-1 win to open a three-game series against the Astros. Kemp finished 3-for-3 with a walk, Andre Ethier knocked in the other run and Ted Lilly (2-0) got the win by giving up one run on four hits and six walks in six innings.
"You'd rather not have to leave the bullpen with nine outs left to get. More times than not, though, with these guys, I feel like our pen is going to take care of it," Lilly said.
Javy Guerra notched his seventh save of the season with two strikeouts in a perfect ninth as the Dodgers moved to 11-3 on the season. Kemp's eight homers in 14 games ties Wally Moon's 1961 franchise record.
Kemp and Ethier's combined 39 RBI through 14 games is the second most all- time, behind only Ted Williams and Vern Stephens for the 1941 Red Sox.
J.A. Happ (1-1) suffered the loss by allowing three runs on eight hits and four walks in six frames. Chris Snyder drove in the lone run for Houston, which has lost five of six.
"I felt fine. I just think that I wasn't quite as sharp as maybe the first two [starts]," said Happ. "I wasn't missing by much, that's for sure. And they battled, too. They had good at-bats."
Reigning NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, who doesn't have a decision in three starts this year, was touched for a season-high eight hits over 5 1/3 innings against San Diego on Sunday when as the Dodgers walked off with a 5-4 win. He's 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA in five career starts against Houston.
Still trying for his first major league win, Kyle Weiland toes the rubber tonight for the Astros. The 25-year-old right-hander has been shelled for 18 hits and 10 runs over 10 2/3 combined innings this season in losses to the Nationals and Braves.
Weiland, who was 0-3 in seven games (5 starts) for Boston in 2011, will be facing the Dodgers for the first time.
The Dodgers have won their last five meetings with the Astros.