Maybe it wasn’t exactly a perfect night for the Dodgers, but it came as close to an ideal summer evening as they could reasonably imagine.
Beloved broadcaster Vin Scully announced he would return for another season, outfielder Matt Kemp hit his first two home runs in over a month, the Dodgers finally won four consecutive games and they extended their lead in the National League West to a season-high three games.
It all came via an 8-4 comeback victory over the Atlanta Braves on a muggy Tuesday night before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 49,630.
The Dodgers made the announcement Scully would return in 2015 for his 66th season in the middle of the second inning via their stadium video boards. The crowd stood, turned to the broadcast booth and gave Scully a standing ovation.
Moments after the announcement, Kemp hit his first home run, this one a two-run shot out to right off former Dodgers pitcher Aaron Harang. It was his first homer since June 25 (86 at-bats).
That gave the Dodgers and Josh Beckett a 2-1 lead, but the right-hander would have his ups-and-downs in his second start since coming off the disabled list. Beckett gave up a two-run homer of his own to Freddie Freeman in the third and then a final run on an Andrelton Simmons double in the fifth.
Beckett went just 4 1/3 innings, surrendering four runs on nine hits and four walks (one intentional). He struck out two and didn’t exactly ease team concerns over the back end of the rotation.
But the Dodgers -- who had a season-high nine extra-base hits -- tied it with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Yasiel Puig tripled and scored on an Adrian Gonzalez double. Carl Crawford’s single scored Gonzalez to make it 4-4.
Harang, who has released by three different teams in the last year but came into the game with a 9-6 record and a 3.31 earned-run average, has been another successful Braves reclamation project. On this night, he went six innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk; he struck out three.
The Dodgers won it with three runs in the seventh off hard-throwing Atlanta reliever Anthony Varvaro. Puig beat out an infield single for his fourth hit and Gonzalez singled him to third. A Crawford groundout to second scored Puig with the go-ahead run.
Not that the Dodgers were done. Kemp followed with his second two-run homer, this one a vintage shot -- the kind he hit before all the injuries -- to deep right-center.
A second double by Gonzalez scored the Dodgers’ final run in the eighth.
The Dodgers' bullpen preserved it with 4 2/3 scoreless innings. Jamey Wright, Brandon League, J.P. Howell and Kenley Jansen combined to hold the Braves down, Jansen claiming his 31st save.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times