LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Kemp hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning against his former team, and the Colorado Rockies sent the Los Angeles Dodgers to their first series loss of the season with a 7-6 victory Sunday night.
Kemp connected off Caleb Ferguson (2-1) for the sixth homer in a back-and-forth game between the NL West rivals. The Rockies won the last two in the series to boost their playoff hopes while curbing their 4-24 skid against the powerhouse Dodgers, who lost back-to-back games for only the third time this season.
Josh Fuentes hit an early two-run homer and Garrett Hampson added an RBI double for the Rockies, who were winless in their past nine series against Los Angeles since 2018. Colorado also won two straight at Dodger Stadium after losing 17 of its previous 18 here.
Kemp wasn’t eager to reflect on getting both his 1,800th career hit and a clutch homer against the Dodgers, who employed him from 2006-14 and again in 2018. The veteran slugger is more focused on keeping Colorado moving toward a postseason berth after these tough wins ended a 7-17 midseason skid.
“I think our intensity level has been up a lot more these past few games,” Kemp said. “We’re really grinding it out. We know where we stand. We know we haven’t played very well these last few weeks, but we know how good we are. We just need to take this to San Diego and get some more wins.”
Corey Seager hit two homers and Chris Taylor put the Dodgers ahead with a two-run shot in the sixth, but Los Angeles’ unbeaten streak in 13 consecutive series to start the season was snapped one short of the franchise record for the divisional era. The Dodgers still lead the majors at 30-12.
“It was a good run, and you’ve got to hand it to the Rockies,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “They got after it. You could see their energy, and we got beat. We got beat the last two nights, and that’s going to happen.”
Mookie Betts sat out to rest for the first time since Aug. 21, but Los Angeles still pounded out its major league-leading seventh four-homer game this season.
The Dodgers made it uncomfortable to the end: Rockies closer Daniel Bard got Seager to ground out with two runners on to end it, earning the sixth save of his remarkable comeback season.
Will Smith hit his third homer in five games for the Dodgers, who have still won 19 of 24. But seven LA pitchers had a collectively rough performance on another hot night in Chavez Ravine, yielding 12 hits.
“We just stayed on them all night, every one of their pitchers,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “Really proud of the guys these last two nights, how they bounced back. There’s fight in this club, no doubt about that, and I think it’s exhibiting itself now.”
Kevin Pillar singled leading off the eighth before Kemp connected for just his third homer in 148 career at-bats against the Dodgers. Ferguson gave up a homer in each of his three relief outings on Los Angeles’ 4-2 homestand.
Colorado starter Ryan Castellani yielded six hits and four runs, but relievers Yency Almonte (3-0), Mychal Givens and Bard coolly shut down the Dodgers with three innings of one-hit ball. Bard had to battle for his second straight save, issuing a seven-pitch walk to Edwin Rios and a 10-pitch walk to Gavin Lux before getting Seager.
Julio Urías yielded five hits and four runs with six strikeouts while failing to get through the fifth inning again for Los Angeles. The left-hander is hoping to earn a postseason slot among a group of Dodgers starting pitchers that haven’t lost a start since Aug. 11, but he didn’t build on a strong outing Tuesday against Arizona.
“It was not the result I wanted today, but I’m going to continue to work, continue to focus,” Urías said through a translator. “It’s a very competitive team. There’s a lot of talent here, and I’m going to accept whatever role they give me.”
On the hottest weekend of the year in Southern California, the teams had a serendipitous evening start time. Chavez Ravine was still 93 degrees for the first pitch after hitting 110 earlier in the day.
Rockies: OF David Dahl is back with the team and still being evaluated. He hasn’t played since Aug. 17 due to lower back soreness, but should return shortly.
Dodgers: OF Joc Pederson left to deal with an undisclosed family issue. … RHP Joe Kelly believes he’ll be ready to return from a shoulder injury in time to pitch in the postseason. He will throw to hitters Monday. Kelly must serve a five-game suspension after he is activated.
Rockies: After a late-night bus ride to San Diego, Kyle Freeland (2-1, 4.09 ERA) will take the mound for Colorado at Petco Park on Monday in the opener of a three-game series with the Padres.
Dodgers: After a day off, Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.60 ERA) makes his second straight start against Arizona in the opener of a three-game road series Tuesday.
By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer
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