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Kemp homer in eight produces a 3-2 victory

Dodgers relief pitcher J.P. Howell hugs Matt Kemp after Kemp homered in eighth to provide winning margin against Cardinals. (Associated Press)
Dodgers relief pitcher J.P. Howell hugs Matt Kemp after Kemp homered in eighth to provide winning margin against Cardinals. (Associated Press)
Beth Harris Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – Matt Kemp hit a go-ahead home run leading off the eighth inning, lifting the Los Angeles Dodgers over the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 Saturday night and evening their N.L. Division Series at a game apiece.

Kemp practically skipped down the first base line, appearing to coax the ball fair as it sailed inside the foul pole and into the lower left field seats while the crowd of 54,599 erupted in cheers.

No one looked happier greeting Kemp in the dugout than J.P. Howell, who had served up a tying two-run homer to Matt Carpenter in the top of the inning after relieving Zack Greinke. Kemp connected against Pat Neshek for his fifth hit in the best-of-five series.

Game 3 is Monday night in St. Louis, with John Lackey starting for the Cardinals against Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers.

Brandon League got his first career postseason win with a scoreless inning of relief. Kenley Jansen retired the side in the ninth for the save.

Greinke pitched two-hit ball over seven scoreless innings a night after ace Clayton Kershaw gave up Carpenter’s go-ahead three-run double in the seventh that helped the Cardinals win 10-9.

Greinke belatedly took the mound in the eighth with his teammates in their positions. Manager Don Mattingly came out to get him, and Greinke left to a standing ovation.

Howell took over and promptly gave up a single to pinch-hitter Oscar Tavares before Carpenter tied it at 2.

Greinke struck out seven, walked two and didn’t allow a runner past second base. He didn’t give up a hit until the fifth, when Kolten Wong doubled down the right-field line. Greinke struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

Greinke was pretty nifty at the plate, too. He went 2 for 3 for his first career postseason multihit game, and even slid headfirst into third on Dee Gordon’s single in the fifth.

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