San Francisco

Matt Kemp and Kiké Hernandez Homer as Dodgers Defeat Rival Giants on Star Wars Night

Enrique Hernandez and Matt Kemp both homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers did what they do: hit home runs, as they defeated the rival San Francisco Giants, 3-2, on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

Enrique Hernandez and Matt Kemp both homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers did what they do: hit home runs, as they defeated the rival San Francisco Giants, 3-2, on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

The dark side of the force entered Chavez Ravine following the Dodgers short, two-game, interleague sweep of the Texas Rangers.

Los Angeles entered the contest with a losing record against their rivals this season, dropping six of the ten head-to-head matchups between the two teams.

So if you thought that meant the Dodgers were going to drop the opener on Friday, I find your lack of faith disturbing. 

Super-utility player Enrique Hernandez is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

Following a walk off dance move at home plate on Wednesday night, Hernandez homered off Derek Holland in the first inning on Friday.

The force was with MVP candidate Matt Kemp in the bottom of the fourth inning when he crushed a first-pitch changeup from Holland into the seats in left-center for a solo shot that gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

Two batters later, Yasmani Grandal reached third base on a dropped fly ball from San Francisco centerfielder Austin Jackson, and the Dodgers took a 3-0 lead on an RBI double by Yasiel Puig one batter later.

Holland (4-7) allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in five innings in the loss.

Never tell Ross Stripling the odds.

Following a season that started in the bullpen, the improbable ascension of Stripling as a Major League starter has been nothing short of astonishing.

"When Doc [Dave Roberts] first told me I was going to start, I just imagined a piggy back scenario," said Stripling. "I wasn't totally built up so I didn't know what to expect. I knew I wanted an opportunity to be a starter, but I didn't know how well it was going to go until I took the ball every fifth day."

Despite the fact he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his Big League debut against the Giants at AT&T Park in 2016, Stripling entered the game winless against San Francisco with a record of 0-2 in two starts and nine appearances.

Stripling (6-1) allowed just two runs on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts in six and 1/3 innings.

"As you log innings and at-bats against guys who get paid a whole lot of money to hit the ball far and you get behind on them and have success, it gives you confidence," said Stripling of his ability to not walk batters. "I've always prided myself on being someone who doesn't walk people. Right now, I'm just filling up the zone with everything and trying not to give away any free passes."

The victory was Stripling's career-high sixth consecutive, and the third longest in the National League. 

Chewie, we're home. Stripling is undefeated at home this season, improving to 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA and striking out 45 batters against just five walks over 39.1 innings.

The only runs Stripling allowed on Friday, was a two-run, opposite field home run that landed in the Dodgers' bullpen off the bat of Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval.

"He [Stripling] gave up a late homer, Panda put a good swing on it," said Roberts. "But the way he's going to go out there and compete every single time he gets the baseball, that's who he is."

Sandoval finished the game 2-for-3 on the night and has reached base safely in 13 of his last 16 games since May 27, batting .354 with seven runs, two doubles, three homers and 11 RBI.

The Dodgers have relied heavily on their bullpen in the past 25 games since May 17, tossing over 112 innings, the second most in the Majors.

Friday night was Josh Fields turn to take the ball as he recorded four consecutive outs in relief, including pinch-hitter and former MVP Buster Posey, before exiting the game for Scott Alexander.

Kenley Jansen earned his 16th save of the season with a perfect ninth inning. 

"We've done a good job with Kenley's usage," said Roberts. "To have Kenley only go three outs worked out well."

The Dodgers moved above .500 with a record of 19-18 for the first time this season.

On Appeal

Matt Kemp was suspended one game by Major League Baseball before the game, but appealed the verdict. He is allowed to continue to play while the appeal process plays out, and the Dodgers are certainly glad he did after the victory on Friday. 

Kemp is batting .335 with 31 runs, 16 doubles, 11 home runs and 42 RBI in 66 games this season. He currently ranks third in the NL in batting average and his .426 batting average with runners in scoring position is second in the NL behind Atlanta's Freddie Freeman.

Up Next:

You know, no matter how much we fought, I've always hated watching you leave.

The Giants will send LHP Madison Bumgarner to the mound on Saturday opposite LHP Alex Wood for a primetime 5:15PM PST first pitch.

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