Dodgers Highlights: Matt Kemp, Kiké Hernandez Hit Home Runs, Ross Stripling Sets...

Dodgers Highlights: Matt Kemp, Kiké Hernandez Hit Home Runs, Ross Stripling Sets Career High In Strikeouts

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Things are beginning to click for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who earned their seventh victory in the last eight games on Friday night, defeating the San Diego Padres, 4-1, in the opener of a three-game series.

The Dodgers got the scoring started early, with the first two batters in the bottom of the first inning, Chris Taylor and Justin Turner, both reaching base via walk against Padres starter Clayton Richard. Matt Kemp then clobbered a three-run home run to left-center field to put Los Angeles ahead 3-0 after one frame.

Kemp went 3-for-4 in the game and has tortured his former team all season long. In seven games against the Padres, Kemp has gone 15-for-26 (.577 batting average) with four of his six home runs on the season.

Kiké Hernandez launched a solo home run off Richard in the third inning to add to the Dodgers lead, which was enough offense to complete the victory.

The home run ball was something that wasn’t there for the Dodgers in the first month-plus of the season, but they have started hitting the ball out of the ballpark in their recent win streak. They’ve out-homered opponents 11 to three in their last eight games.

“I think we’re getting into counts. When you’re giving yourself a chance for the pitcher to make a mistake and trust that you can run an at-bat, good things are going to happen,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of his club’s uptick in homers.

“There’s one point where you want to be aggressive on the first pitch. But there’s the other part, when you start doing too much, going out of the strike zone. I think right now we’re seeing the ball really well, getting into counts and slugging a little bit.”

Ross Stripling got the start on the mound for the Dodgers and had another solid outing, giving up just six hits and one unearned run in 6.2 innings. He struck out a career-high 10 batters and didn’t issue a walk.

With four good outings in a row now, Stripling has asserted himself as potentially a mainstay in the Dodgers rotation even when Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill get healthy.

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