Outfielder goes deep twice in victory over Nationals
By Alex Putterman
WASHINGTON -- The Padres did not waste much time Friday in extending their franchise-record run to 20 straight games with a home run.
With two outs in the first inning, Matt Kemp launched a Tanner Roark two-seam fastball into the left-field seats to keep the streak alive and give San Diego an early lead on the way to a 5-3 win over the Nationals.
The Padres became the first National League team since the 2008 Brewers to homer in 20 straight games.
But Kemp was not done. With the score tied at 2 in the fifth, and one run already in, the outfielder whacked another Roark fastball out of the park for a three-run shot to give the Padres a 5-2 lead.
"[Roark] left a couple of them up there in the zone," Kemp said. "I don't think he meant to put them up there. I just put a good swing on them."
The go-ahead home run gave him his ninth career multi-home run game and second of the season. It was also his sixth home run in his past six games and his 22nd on the year.
The home run bonanza has put Kemp on track to blow past his home run totals from recent years. The 31-year-old hit 23 home runs last year and 25 the year before, and has reached 30 only once in his career (39 in 2011). Does Kemp have an explanation for his recent home run surge? Not really.
"I really never try to just hit home runs," he said. "When they make mistakes, put good swings on them, and whatever happens happens."
Kemp and manager Andy Green both said the team isn't focusing on the home run streak, but to those outside the clubhouse it's getting harder to ignore. The Padres are now two games away from tying the Red Sox for the longest streak this season. The Major League record is 27 consecutive games, set by the 2002 Rangers.
Those marks could be well within reach if Kemp continues to hit like he has over the past six games. Though Green cautioned that hot and cold streaks come and go and no one should overreact to Kemp's big week, he said he's not surprised to see the slugger perform like he did Friday.
"Matt Kemp, offensively, put us on his back today and carried us," Green said. "That's what big-time players do."
Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.