Dodgers rally past Mets for Penny
Kemp leads comeback from four runs down; righty wins No. 12
LOS ANGELES -- It didn't start out the way Brad Penny had scripted it in his mind, but at the end of the day, the result were exactly what he was looking for.
After giving up four runs in the first three innings, Penny settled down and shut down the Mets on his way to his 12th victory of the season, and his seventh straight decision, as the Dodgers snapped a two-game losing streak, 8-6, on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
"You're going to give up runs, and when you do, you just have to go out there and keep throwing," Penny said. "There are going to be days when it's not your day, and today was one of them, but we played good defense and scored runs."
Penny is now tied for the National League lead in wins with Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano, and he became the first Dodgers hurler to start the season 12-1 since Phil Regan went 14-1 in 1966. Penny went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out five.
"Well, he's a strong man, and when we came back and got those runs in the fourth, it gave him a big boost," manager Grady Little said. "That's a good ballclub out there, and today we let them have a couple extra bases in that second inning. But we're pleased with the outcome."
Once again, it was the Dodgers' youngsters that got the offense going, led by outfielder Matt Kemp, who had two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored, including a three-run homer in the fourth inning.
Kemp is batting .381 with six homers and 23 RBIs on the season, and he has become a fixture in the lineup since being recalled on June 8.
Mets starting pitcher Jorge Sosa (7-8) had the Dodgers under control for the first three innings, allowing just a double to Penny and an RBI single to Juan Pierre before the Dodgers made their push in the fourth inning.
After Jeff Kent flied out to left to start the fourth, James Loney, Wilson Betemit and Andre Ethier each hit singles to cut the lead to 4-2. Then, with Betemit and Ethier on base, Kemp drilled a hanging slider into the bleachers in left-center field to put the Dodgers up 5-4. Rafael Furcal and Pierre hit back-to-back doubles to cap a five-run fourth, putting the Dodgers ahead for good.
"He left it up a little bit and I did what I needed to do to it," said Kemp of the first-pitch slider from Sosa. "We know we got Penny's back, and he has our back. We know he's going to come out strong and pitch hard, and today it worked out for us."
Offensively, the Dodgers continued to swing the bats well, accumulating 11 hits in the game, which gives them double-digit hits in nine of their last 11 games. Pierre extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the third inning, and Furcal and Kemp each had two hits.
The Mets didn't go down easily, and the Dodgers, who were without closer Takashi Saito (stiff shoulder) had to count on Joe Beimel and Jonathan Broxton to close out the game.
Beimel pitched out of a jam in the seventh inning after inheriting two baserunners with one out. He got pinch-hitter Paul Lo Duca to ground into a double play to get out of the seventh, but gave up a two-run homer to Carlos Beltran in the eighth, forcing Little to bring in Broxton.
Broxton, who has had only one other save opportunity this season, didn't disappoint, striking out two to end the eighth and cruising through the ninth for his second save of the season.
"Broxton has been great all year. He has a plus-fastball, plus-slider and he's working on that splitter," said catcher Russell Martin, who contributed an RBI. "He has the stuff to be a closer, but it's a different mind-set going from the eighth inning to the ninth. I think he has the character to do it. He's an intense guy."
With the win, the Dodgers moved into position to split the series heading into Sunday afternoon's finale.
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.