The young Kershaw seemed to be headed for his third win and over the last four starts he has a 1.44 ERA (4 ER/25.0 Inn); all four outings have been "quality" starts.
With the win, the Dodgers have won five of their six games with the Brewers, and are unbeaten in their last eight season series against Milwaukee. They are 6-0-2 in series and are 33-15 against them since the start of the 2001 season.
While Manny Ramirez is not carrying the Dodgers completely by himself, they are 10-6 since the arrival of 12-time All-Star on August 1, including an 8-2 mark at Dodger Stadium. Ramirez's 21 RBI in August is second in the National League during that time.
Counting his time with the Red Sox Ramirez has 26 homers overall. He is 25-for-59 (.424) with six home runs and 21 RBIs in 16 games with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers are 6-1 when Ramirez homers, 8-3 when he drives in at least one run. They have won 13 of their last 17 games at home and are 37-28 overall.
Behind starter Clayton Kershaw and reliever Jason Johnson, the Dodgers took a 5-1 lead into the ninth inning. Johnson, who had retired seven of eight Brewers, gave up a single with one out in the ninth and manager Joe Torre called for Chan Ho Park.
The move didn't work out all that well, partly because of two errors on the same play by James Loney at first and as a result, the four Milwaukee runs that tied the game were unearned.
Matt Kemp led off the bottom of the ninth with a two-strike single and Ethier drove his third hit and second homer of the game into the right field pavillion for the emotional win.
Kemp had opened the game by hitting the second pitch out of the park. It was the first leadoff home run of his career. After Jeff Kent singled, Manny Ramirez slugged a 439-foot shot into the center field seats for a 3-0 margin.
Kershaw battled all afternoon long, allowing a hit in every inning, but, aside from a fourth-inning home run, preserved the Dodgers lead until he was removed for a pinch-hitter after six.
Ethier had homered by then and when Ramirez singled in a fifth run in the eighth, the Dodgers seemed on easy street with a 5-1 lead.
Johnson had retired the firt Milwaukee hitter with a strikeout, then allowed a ground single to center and was given the hook in favor of Park, who had allowed 4 runs in his last nine innings of work.
A ground ball glanced off Loney's glove for an error and when the first baseman retrieved it, he threw behind Park who was covering first base for a second error, with the runners moving to second and third.
Ray Durham rapped a two-run single before Park got the second out, and was one pitch away from the win and a save when he left an 0-2 slider over the plate and Ryan Braun smacked it into the bullpen in left field to tie the game.
Joe Beimel (4-0) got the final out of the inning with one pitch and earned the win when Ethier ended things minutes later.
"He didn't just pick me up. He picked the whole team up," Loney said after the game. "There were some crazy things in the ninth."
"We're certainly in a good place right now, with a lot of confidence," manager Joe Torre said. "We expect to win when we come out here. I mean, it's that intensity without being tense, which is where you really want to be. I like that type of attitude that we have right now.
"That was a gut-wrencher when you lose that kind of lead in the ninth inning, especially with two out. And then to be able to come back and win the game, it goes from tragic to magic."
With thirty-eight games to go. The Dodgers improve to 64-60 and pull back into a first-place tie with the Diamondbacks. The off-day today is the first one in two weeks and last one for 2 1/2 more weeks.
The Dodgers have only 15 more home games, including the three-game series with Colorado tomorrow. They play only 12 in Dodger Stadium during September.
Matchups for the Colorado Series:
Tuesday RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 3.94) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (7-8, 3.88)
Wednesday LHP Jeff Francis (3-8, 5.74) vs. RHP Chad Billingsley (12-9, 3.10)
Thursday LHP Glendon Rusch (4-2, 5.15) vs. RHP Derek Lowe (9-10, 3.99)
Score by innngs Milwaukee 000 100 004-5 Los Angeles 300 010 102-7 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Kemp cf 5 2 2 1 .300 Ethier rf 5 3 3 3 .282 Kent 2b 4 1 2 0 .279 Ozuna 2b 0 0 0 0 .188 Ramirez lf 4 1 2 3 .424 Loney 1b 4 0 1 0 .292 Martin c 2 0 2 0 .291 Blake 3b 4 0 0 0 .274 Berroa ss 4 0 2 0 .211 Kershaw p 2 0 0 0 .000 Sweeney p 1 0 0 0 .123 Johnson p 1 0 0 0 .000 Park p 0 0 0 0 .111 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 36 7 14 7 Milwaukee 39 5 12 5 Errors- Loney 2 (10). 2b hits- Loney (30), Berroa (7). Ethier (26). HR- Kemp (15), Ramirez (6), Ethier 2 (15). RBI- Kemp (63), Ramirez 3 (21), Ethier 3 (54). LOB- Los Angeles 7, Milwaukee 8. DP- Kent, Berroa and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Keshaw 6.0 8 1-1 1 6 3.59 Johnson 2.1 2 1-0 0 2 2.78 Park 0.1 2 3-0 0 1 2.58 Beimel (4-0) 0.1 0 0-0 0 0 1.83 T- 3:02. Att- 45,267.Special At-Bat For Kemp
Kemp led off the last of the ninth with the game tied and took a pair of big swings at balls down and in to him, then he cut his swing back and lined a single to center field. He scored moments later on Ethier's game-winning homer.
Torre said, "I think the first couple of swings that Matt took he was trying to end it himself, and then he sort of reeled himself back in taking that tough pitch and then the base hit."
And Brewers' manager Ned Yost paid Kemp a huge compliment when he added, "If you were going to tell a Little League kid about a two-strike approach, you would take a film clip of that and show him. That was done perfectly. He didn't try to over-swing, he didn't try to do too much. He just put the ball in play."
Penny May Miss the Rest of the Season
Results of an MRI on Brad Penny's right shoulder showed an increase in scar tissue, but surgery was not suggested. A two-time All-Star, Penny is 6-9 this season with a 6.05 earned-run average.
The scar tissue seems to be impinging on his right rotator cuff, causing irritation and inflammation. His return this season has not been ruled out, but Torre will proceed as if Penny will not be back.
"It's nothing that anybody has said to me, it's just off what has happened this year." Torre said. "He's done the slow process of getting back but there seems to be something that doesn't feel right for him."
"I can't think he's going to be back.
Penny, who was moved to the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season, won't be permitted to start throwing until tomorrow at the earliest. His first stint on the DL, which started in mid-June, lasted two months.
However, General Manager Ned Colletti said that he hasn't given up on getting Penny back this season and that his return could come out of the bullpen, something that wouldn't require nearly as much rehab time.
?Colletti would not discuss the issue of whether Penny's health concerns will effect the club's decision on his $9.25 million option for 2009. The option carries a $2 million buyout. Penny has made just 17 starts this season, 15 of which came before he went on the DL the first time back in June.
?Presumably, even if the Dodgers decline Penny's option, they still would be willing to re-sign him as a free agent.
Jim Murray Honored
The Dodgers honored the late Los Angeles Times and Hall of Fame sportswriter Jim Murray in a pregame ceremony in which his widow Linda McCoy-Murray President and Founder of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation threw out a ceremonial first pitch. Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of his passing.
Dodger Blue Notes --It was the 17th time this season that the 40-year-old Kent started a day game after starting the night before. Kent has batted in the third slot in the order ahead of Manny Ramirez in each of the last 10 games beginning August 7. In that time, Kent is hitting .462 (18-for-39) to raise his average to .276 from .256. ...Injured reliever Cory Wade (right shoulder inflammation) is expected back on Aug. 24, when he's eligible to come off the disabled list. He will likely go on a Minor League rehab stint this week to pitch an inning or two. ...The crowd of 45,267 brought the Dodgers to within nine thousand and change of another 3,000,000 season. Many of them were wearing the replica Ramirez cap and dreadlocks that are now on sale. ...On this day in 1992, Dodger pitcher Kevin Gross provided a bright spot in a dismal season (99 losses) by tossing the first and only no-hitter of his career, blanking the Giants, 2-0. Gross, who went 40-44 from 1991-94 in Los Angeles, allowed just two walks and hit a batter at Dodger Stadium that evening. ...James Loney and Brad Penny will host the Dodgers Dream Foundation's fourth annual Bowling Extravaganza tonight. Besides Penny and Loney the expected guest list includes teammates Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Joe Beimel, Casey Blake, Juan Pierre, Clayton Kershaw, Ramon Troncoso, Cory Wade, Danny Ardoin and Gary Bennett, Lakers guard Jordan Farmar and celebrities Jonathan Silverman, Jennifer Finnigan, James Denton, James Van Der Beek, Doug Savant and Tim DeKay.