LOS ANGELES — Matt Kemp made a marvelous catch for the final out in his first game back from the disabled list to preserve the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 6-5 victory over the slumping San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
Mark Ellis and Hanley Ramirez each hit a two-run homer for the Dodgers, and rookie Stephen Fife pitched effectively into the seventh inning. Los Angeles handed the defending World Series champions their third loss in a row and eighth in 11 games, dropping them under .500 for the first time since losing to the Dodgers on opening day.
It’s the latest the Giants have been below the break-even mark in any season since 2008, when they finished 72-90 in Bruce Bochy’s second year as manager.
Fife (2-2) allowed three runs and four hits, including solo homers by Brandon Belt and NL MVP Buster Posey, in 6 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old right-hander struck out three and walked two in his 11th major league start, only the second in which he gave up more than two runs.
Kemp, a two-time Gold Glove winner, returned to the lineup after missing 24 games with a right hamstring strain. He was injured May 29 while running down a double in right-center by Mike Trout at Angel Stadium. It was the fourth time in his career that Kemp landed on the DL, including two stints last season because of a left hamstring strain that cost him a combined 51 games.
With closer Kenley Jansen unavailable after pitching three consecutive days, demoted closer Brandon League came on in the ninth to protect a 6-3 lead and did not retire any of the three batters he faced.
Belt hit an RBI double and Andres Torres added an RBI single off League before Paco Gonzalez got three outs for his first major league save. With runners at first and second, Marco Scutaro hit a long drive to center but Kemp raced back and reached over his shoulder to make a sliding catch on the warning track, ending the game.
A fired-up Kemp popped up and smacked the wall hard, then shouted in excitement.
Mike Kickham (0-2) was charged with six runs — five earned — and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings in his second big league start. The 24-year-old lefty was recalled by the Giants from Triple-A Fresno to fill in for Chad Gaudin, who was struck on his pitching elbow by a line drive off the bat of Miami’s Derek Dietrich last Thursday and placed on the 15-day disabled list shortly before Monday night’s series opener.
The Dodgers broke a 2-all tie with four runs in the sixth.