Dodgers Crunch Rockies, Win 8th Straight

Matt Kemp has seemingly bought into Nuke LaLoosh's theory of "They pitch the ball, you hit the ball. They hit the ball, you catch the ball." The Dodgers center fielder banged out three hits, including two home runs -- one a grand slam, knocked in five and made a jumping, crashing catch off the center field wall with two on base when the game was still in jeopardy.

He finished the first 13 games of the season with a glittering .383 average and has embarrassed all those critics who advocated trading him when he made a couple of base-running mistakes. Half of his 18 hits having gone for extra bases and he has a .434 on-base percentage and a .723 slugging average.

Things went right for nearly everyone on the Dodgers' squad with the exception of starter James McDonald, who battled through four scoreless innings without a consistent curveball. The youngster was leading 4-0 when he tried to complete the fifth inning so he could get credit for the win but he could only get a single out before walking a pair of Rockies and manager Joe Torre reluctantly replaced him with Scott Elbert.

Elbert, just recalled from Albuquerque after Cory Wade went on the disabled list. worked 2.2 innings and earned his first major league win.

Orlando Hudson joined Kemp in piling up tree hits and he knocked in three runs himself. Andre Ethier had an RBI double, an RBI single and a sacrifice fly.

Rafael Furcal walked in the first and scored on Hudson's double, then scored himself when Ethier doubled. Casey Blake was hit by a pitch in the second, was bunted into scoring position and came on on Hudson second run-scoring hit in two innings. Doubles by Kemp and Furcal made it 4-0 after four. Adron Chambers

McDonald, in the meantime, worked out of a bases loaded mess in the second inning. Furcal ranged far to his right to knock down a hit to save a run and the final Colorado hitter flew out. Blake made a spectacular backhanded stop in the third to start a double play and McDonald survived a leadoff double inn the fourth.

But in the fifth he started to run out of gas. He gave up a leadoff walk and a line shot to center that Kemp flagged down. But then a second walk ended his afternoon.

Elbert got a foul pop to third but then gave up a long shot to center that Kemp grabbed off the wall some 400 feet from the plate to save at least two runs and end the inning.

Los Angeles iced the game when 12 went to the plate in the last of the fifth. Manny Ramirez, who was hitless in his first two trips to the plate, singled to right field and that opened the floodgates. James Loney walked, Russ Martin singled and Kemp crushed a fastball over the center field wall for the second grand slam of his career. That jackpot shot was against the Rockies, too, in 2006.

But it didn't stop there. Blake doubled and Elbert drove a shot to the left-center field wall for another double. He scored on Hudson's third hit, Ramirez singled the second time up in the inning and Ethier's single drove in the seventh run.

Ramirez had loaned Will Ohman his bat on Saturday and the reliever singled to right field to drive in a run. He gave to to Elbert in the seventh and Elbert doubled for his first big league hit, double and RBI.

Ethier remembered what all pitching coaches preach and concentrated on putting the ball over the plate with his 11-0 lead. Two of his pitches were hit out of the park but he completed the sixth and worked a scoreless seventh. Ramon Troncoso added two zeros to close out the game.

Ethier missed a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth when he drove a bases-loaded shot 400 feet to center that was caught high off the wall. Loney singled to drove in the second run of the inning and Kemp slammed an even longer home run than his first, this one dropping into about the eighth row of the right-center field seats.

While an open date is an extremely welcome break in the middle of the season, the Dodgers might rather not take today off after scoring 50 runs on 77 hits in the last six games, but they must follow the schedule.

With a 10-3 record the Dodgers lead the Padres by one game in the N.L. West and they will take today off and then begin on Tuesday a nine-game road trip to Houston, Colorado, and San Francisco. They return home on April 30 for the start of a season-long 11-game homestand that runs through Mother's Day, May 10.

 Score by innings
Colorado	000 002 000- 2
Los Angeles	210 170 21x-14	

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  2  2  1  .275
Hudson 2b	4  2  3  2  .385
 Castro 2b	1  1  1  0  .500
Ramirez lf	4  1  2  0  .326
 Pierre lf	0  0  0  0  .375
Ethier rf	4  0  2  3  .298
Loney 1b	4  1  1  1  .292
Martin c	3  1  2  0  .244
Kemp cf        	5  3  3  5  .383
Blake 3b	4  2  2  0  .225
 DeWitt 3b	1  0  0  0  .182
McDonald p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Elbert p	2  1  1  1  .500
 Troncoso p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Totals	        38 14 19 14
 Rockies	33  2  8  2 

 Two base hits- Hudson (3), Ethier (3), Kemp 
(5), Furcal (3), Blake (2). Elbert (1). 
HR- Kemp 2 (3). RBI- Hudson 3 (8), Ethier 3 (16), 
Furcal (5), Kemp 5 (14), Elbert (). Loney (9) 
S- McDonald. SF- Ethier. CS- Martin (2). LOB- 
Los Angeles 8, Colorado 8. DP- Blake, Hudson 
and Loney; Castro, Furcal and Loney.

 Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era
McDonald	4.1  4  0-0  3  2  5.67
Elbert (1-0)	2.2  3  2-2  0  2  6.75
Troncoso	2.0  1  0-0  0  1  3.00
 WP- McDonald. HBP- Blake; by McDonald. T- 3:06
Att- 41,474,
Dodger Blue Notes --The Dodgers are riding a seven-game winning streak, the longest active run in the Majors and one game longer than the Florida Marlins' seven-game streak. Los Angeles' streak is the club's longest since an eight gamer from August 30-September 7, 2008. ...The Dodgers tied their record for consecutive wins at home to start a season at six, accomplished first in 1969. The Dodgers' franchise record is a 9-0 start at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in 1946. In 1947, the Dodgers went 8-0 at Ebbets Field to start the home slate. ...The Dodgers' 10-3 start is the club's best through 12 games since 2005, when they were 10-2.  Los Angeles in 2005 would start the year 12-2, but would go on to a fourth-place finish at 71-91. ...The Dodgers through their first five games at home are batting .367 (77-for-210) with 11 home runs and 50 runs scored, an average of 8.3 runs per game. During the season-opening seven-game road trip, in which they went 4-3, the Dodgers batted just .245 (57-for-233) with four home runs, while scoring 32 runs for an average of 4.8 per game.