Already in line to start his third career All-Star Game and first since 2012 http://www.officiallightningprostore.com/authentic-adidas-mikhail-sergachev-jersey , Matt Kemp is keeping up a torrid pace.
Kemp tied a career high with five hits, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy hit back-to-back homers to highlight a six-run fourth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 17-1 on Monday night in the series opener.
Kemp hit a three-run homer in the sixth and drove in four runs for the second straight game. He came up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
He’s notched eight straight hits since Sunday against Colorado; the franchise record is 10.
”It’s been pretty good,” Kemp said. ”As a team, we did a pretty good job.”
Fans chanted ”MVP! MVP!” as Kemp crossed the plate after his 15th homer of the season. The veteran slugger is the second-leading vote getter among National League outfielders for the July 17 All-Star Game. Kemp also scored four runs.
”It was a clinic tonight, and everyone sort of fed off what he was doing at the plate,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Cody Bellinger homered in the third, leaving the Dodgers with 116 homers this season after they slugged a major league-leading and franchise-record 55 in June. They already have five long balls two days into July.
The Dodgers recorded season highs in hits (21) and runs. They batted around in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, tacking on three runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth for a 17-1 lead.
”You never like when these games happen, but they seem to find a way to happen every now and then,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Alex Wood (5-5) allowed one run and six hits in six innings. The left-hander struck out three and didn’t walk anyone in recording a win for his fourth straight start. The Dodgers’ defense backed him with double plays in the first and sixth.
Wood was sitting for long stretches while the Dodgers batted around, although he also was busy with four at-bats, getting a hit.
Caleb Ferguson pitched three innings to earn his first major league save on his 22nd birthday.
”A 16-run save,” joked Wood.
Ferguson said, ”I didn’t realize it until after the game. It’s awesome, especially on my birthday.”
Yasiel Puig had three hits and drove in four runs in the Dodgers’ second straight win.
The Pirates stumbled from the start.
In the first inning alone, David Freese dropped a throw at first base, starter Nick Kingham balked a runner to third and catcher Elias Diaz missed the target on a throw to the mound for an error by Kingham that allowed Bellinger to score the Dodgers’ second run of the inning.
”It just missed my glove and bounced away Bart Starr Jersey ,” Kingham said. ”No one else was expecting it but the runner on third saw it and he went home.”
Pittsburgh’s third error – by center fielder Austin Meadows – led to the Dodgers scoring their 10th run in the fourth.
The Pirates’ lone run came on Diaz’s homer in the second.
Kingham (3-3) gave up seven runs – five earned – and eight hits in three-plus innings, the rookie’s shortest outing of the season. The right-hander struck out two and walked three making a spot start in place of Chad Kuhl, who is on the disabled list with a forearm strain.
The Dodgers were no kinder to reliever Tanner Anderson, who got tagged for six runs – five earned – and eight hits in two innings of his major league debut.
”First pitch, I was really nervous,” the 2015 Harvard graduate said.
Pirates: INF-OF Sean Rodriguez (right quad strain) began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis. … LHP Enny Romero (left shoulder impingement) was reinstated from the DL and designated for assignment.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler will pitch at Class A-Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday. If it goes well, he will toss a bullpen session on Friday. … LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder inflammation) will have a rehab assignment before he returns.
With a 17-1 lead, Puig wasn’t loafing on defense. Jordy Mercer lined a double into the right-field corner in the seventh and Corey Dickerson took off from second while Puig chased the ball into the corner. If Dickerson was thinking about trying to score, Puig wouldn’t have it. The Cuban threw a flat-footed strike from foul territory that held up Dickerson.
It was the Pirates’ worst loss since falling 20-0 to the Brewers on April 22, 2010, at home. The Bucs allowed season highs in runs and hits, while the Dodgers’ four homers tied a season high.
Pirates RHP Ivan Nova (4-5, 4.02 ERA) starts on Tuesday. He is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers. LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.84) makes his third start for Los Angeles since coming off the DL. He is 2-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 career starts against the Pirates, with 69 strikeouts and 12 walks while holding their batters to a .221 average.
Rob Gronkowski says coach Bill Belichick makes it easy for the New England Patriots to ignore distractions such as the one created by last week’s ESPN report.
”Throughout my years here I’ve seen a lot of negative, a lot of positive,” Gronkowski said Tuesday as the Patriots prepared for Saturday night’s divisional playoff game against the Tennessee Titans.
”The reputation that Coach tries to get us to have is just ignore the noise – ignore the noise from the outside and I feel like that’s what myself and a lot of other players have been doing.
”You just gotta ignore the noise and just focus on what we’ve been doing all year and that’s preparing hard, studying our opponent, getting ready Brett Favre Jersey , mentally and physically for the big game, so what’s going on on the outside, as a team, as an organization, just gotta keep grinding, keep going, keep doing our job.”
Gronkowski, healthy this season after missing last year’s Super Bowl-winning run, said such ”noise” will ”if anything it’s just going to bring us closer and it’s going to bond us together.”
The report concerned the relationship among team owner Robert Kraft, Belichick and Tom Brady, focusing on Brady’s role in the trading of backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round draft pick.
Earlier Tuesday, Brady reacted strongly to the claim he was involved in moving Garoppolo, who won five straight games for his new team down the stretch of the season.
”I think that’s just such a poor characterization of anything. In 18 years, I’ve never celebrated when someone has been traded, been cut,” Brady said on his weekly appearance on Boston radio station WEEI.
”I would say that’s disappointing to hear that someone would express that, or a writer would express that, because it’s so far from what my beliefs are about my teammates.”
He continued, saying Authentic Randall Cobb Jersey , ”I would never, ever feel that way about when Jimmy got traded, when Jacoby (Brissett) got traded. I’ve kept in touch with all those guys. When Matt Cassel was gone. All these guys I’ve worked with, I felt like I had such a great relationship with all the quarterbacks I’ve worked with. I kept in touch with basically everybody. So to characterize that as a certain way is just completely, completely wrong.”
Gronkowski was asked if Brady is amped up even more than usual.
”I’ve gotten that question many times throughout my career and I’ve said this many times – it’s hard to see him go to another level of intensity because he’s always intense, he’s always preparing hard,” Gronkowski said.
”I’ve just seen him do the same old that he does every week, prepare hard, practice hard and get ready for the game.”
Defensive captain Devin McCourty was asked about the ESPN article.
”I don’t care about it and I think a lot of guys don’t really care about what goes on outside and who writes what and if we stink, if we’re great – it doesn’t matter.
”So, I just think guys are motivated by playing for each other, their families more than an ESPN article.
”I think it’s a great thing for our fans and people outside. I think they enjoy all of that, but I think for us, it’s just going out there and playing for each other.
”An ESPN article doesn’t help us when we go out there and it’s negative-9 degrees. Like you’re not going to be motivated to prove an article wrong. You’re just having fun playing with the guys.”
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks, in his first year with the team, was asked how they keep distractions out of their locker room.
”I think because the guys listen. Coach has been doing this for a while and he knows what the potential distractions can be,” Cooks said.
”I think he does a great job on letting us know what they are and as players we listen to him and being coachable and tune out the noise.”
NOTES: Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey, talking with New England reporters via a conference call, was asked what affect the ESPN story might have on the Patriots Womens Randall Cobb Jersey , said, ”You know what, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know anything about it. I’m not a social media guy. I don’t know enough, I really don’t, to make any comment about something like that.” … Gronkowski, talking about making AP All-Pro for the fourth time, said, ”It’s definitely an honor, a humbling honor, but it means nothing now to tell you the truth, it means nothing. It’s the playoffs now, it’s one-and-done if you lose, so you just keep on preparing, looking forward. … ”I’m just looking forward to this game, man – super excited to be back out there with the team.”