NL West-leading Dodgers rally, defeat Braves 8-4
LOS ANGELES — Matt Kemp is making a case for himself, regardless of where he's playing the rest of the season.
With his name being bandied about ahead of Thursday's trade deadline, Kemp hit a pair of two-run homers to power the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Atlanta Braves 8-4 Tuesday night.
His four RBIs were a season high as he surpassed 600 career RBIs with 603. Kemp is hitting .400 in 10 games since the All-Star break.
"I'm not worried about any rumors," he said. "I'm just worried about helping my team win."
Kemp is playing right field, where he began his career, having been moved from center field in the Dodgers' crowded outfield.
"I'd play anywhere right now," he said. "I'm just happy to be in the lineup."
Yasiel Puig had four hits with two runs scored for the first-place Dodgers, who won their season-high fourth straight. Adrian Gonzalez is also hitting .400 since the break. He had two doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs.
"That's what we envision offensively," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We got contributions from all over."
The Dodgers trailed twice in their first meeting with the Braves since eliminating them in a National League division series last season. The Dodgers moved three games up on San Francisco in the NL West while the Braves remained one-half game behind Washington in the NL East.
Puig came up a home run short of hitting for the cycle, lifting his team-leading average to .317. He struck out in his final at-bat after tying his career high in hits.
Los Angeles rallied from a two-run deficit to tie it 4-all on an RBI double by Gonzalez and an RBI single by Carl Crawford in the fifth.
That set the stage for outfielders Crawford and Kemp to put the Dodgers ahead in the seventh.
Crawford had an RBI groundout to second base and Kemp followed with his second two-run shot over the center field fence for a 7-4 lead. Gonzalez doubled in another run in the eighth.
Brandon League (2-2) got the victory in one inning of relief, allowing one hit and one walk. Kenley Jansen got four outs for his 31st save.
Kemp's first two-run shot in the second briefly gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
"Matt did a good job hitting that curveball," Braves starter and former Dodger Aaron Harang said. "That's the Matt Kemp I remember from the first half of 2012."
Freddie Freeman, who went 2 for 4, put Atlanta back in front 3-2 in the third with his own two-run homer. Tommy La Stella tied a career-best with three hits and scored a run as the Braves' three-game winning streak ended.
Anthony Varvaro (3-3) took the loss, giving up three runs and four hits in one relief inning.
Dodgers starter Josh Beckett struggled through another outing. The right-hander gave up four runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, struck out two and walked one in dropping to 0-5 in his last six home starts.
Harang faced his old team for the first time since being traded in 2012. The right-hander yielded four runs and nine hits in six innings, struck out three and walked one after going 4-0 in his previous six outings.