Already in line to start his third career All-Star Game and first since 2012 Adidas Jakub Voracek Jersey , Matt Kemp is keeping up a torrid pace.

Kemp tied a career high with five hits, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy hit back-to-back homers to highlight a six-run fourth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 17-1 on Monday night in the series opener.

Kemp hit a three-run homer in the sixth and drove in four runs for the second straight game. He came up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

He’s notched eight straight hits since Sunday against Colorado; the franchise record is 10.

”It’s been pretty good,” Kemp said. ”As a team, we did a pretty good job.”

Fans chanted ”MVP! MVP!” as Kemp crossed the plate after his 15th homer of the season. The veteran slugger is the second-leading vote getter among National League outfielders for the July 17 All-Star Game. Kemp also scored four runs.

”It was a clinic tonight, and everyone sort of fed off what he was doing at the plate,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Cody Bellinger homered in the third, leaving the Dodgers with 116 homers this season after they slugged a major league-leading and franchise-record 55 in June. They already have five long balls two days into July.

The Dodgers recorded season highs in hits (21) and runs. They batted around in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, tacking on three runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth for a 17-1 lead.

”You never like when these games happen, but they seem to find a way to happen every now and then,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Alex Wood (5-5) allowed one run and six hits in six innings. The left-hander struck out three and didn’t walk anyone in recording a win for his fourth straight start. The Dodgers’ defense backed him with double plays in the first and sixth.

Wood was sitting for long stretches while the Dodgers batted around, although he also was busy with four at-bats, getting a hit.

Caleb Ferguson pitched three innings to earn his first major league save on his 22nd birthday.

”A 16-run save,” joked Wood.

Ferguson said Adidas Matt Murray Jersey , ”I didn’t realize it until after the game. It’s awesome, especially on my birthday.”

Yasiel Puig had three hits and drove in four runs in the Dodgers’ second straight win.

The Pirates stumbled from the start.

In the first inning alone, David Freese dropped a throw at first base, starter Nick Kingham balked a runner to third and catcher Elias Diaz missed the target on a throw to the mound for an error by Kingham that allowed Bellinger to score the Dodgers’ second run of the inning.

”It just missed my glove and bounced away,” Kingham said. ”No one else was expecting it but the runner on third saw it and he went home.”

Pittsburgh’s third error – by center fielder Austin Meadows – led to the Dodgers scoring their 10th run in the fourth.

The Pirates’ lone run came on Diaz’s homer in the second.

Kingham (3-3) gave up seven runs – five earned – and eight hits in three-plus innings, the rookie’s shortest outing of the season. The right-hander struck out two and walked three making a spot start in place of Chad Kuhl, who is on the disabled list with a forearm strain.

The Dodgers were no kinder to reliever Tanner Anderson, who got tagged for six runs – five earned – and eight hits in two innings of his major league debut.

”First pitch, I was really nervous,” the 2015 Harvard graduate said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: INF-OF Sean Rodriguez (right quad strain) began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis. … LHP Enny Romero (left shoulder impingement) was reinstated from the DL and designated for assignment.

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler will pitch at Class A-Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday. If it goes well, he will toss a bullpen session on Friday. … LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder inflammation) will have a rehab assignment before he returns.

PUIG’S DEFENSE

With a 17-1 lead, Puig wasn’t loafing on defense. Jordy Mercer lined a double into the right-field corner in the seventh and Corey Dickerson took off from second while Puig chased the ball into the corner. If Dickerson was thinking about trying to score, Puig wouldn’t have it. The Cuban threw a flat-footed strike from foul territory that held up Dickerson.

WORST LOSS

It was the Pirates’ worst loss since falling 20-0 to the Brewers on April 22, 2010, at home. The Bucs allowed season highs in runs and hits Adidas Jake Guentzel Jersey , while the Dodgers’ four homers tied a season high.

UP NEXT

Pirates RHP Ivan Nova (4-5, 4.02 ERA) starts on Tuesday. He is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers. LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.84) makes his third start for Los Angeles since coming off the DL. He is 2-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 career starts against the Pirates, with 69 strikeouts and 12 walks while holding their batters to a .221 average.




James Shields of the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds play in opposite leagues and rarely see each other, yet they currently have much in common.

Now that they’re starting to make something out of what appeared to be a totally lost season, they’d like to keep it going.

The Reds got off to the worst start in baseball at 8-27, one so bad that getting to .500 looked to be as much of a challenge as winning a division title would be for most teams.

But when the Reds (36-48) take on the right-handed Shields and the White Sox on Monday night at Great American Ball Park, in the teams’ first matchup since 2015, they’ll be one of the majors’ hottest clubs. They’ve won 11 of 14 after taking the final two games of a four-game weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers, and interim manager Jim Riggleman now has a 33-33 record for a last-place team.

Considering that Riggleman took over a Reds team that was 3-15 under former manager Bryan Price, that’s something of an accomplishment. And the Reds own a 6-1 record in interleague games.

“We know we can play with these teams that are in first place in their division,” Riggleman said.

They’re winning now in grand fashion, too. Jose Peraza hit the team’s major league-leading ninth grand slam Sunday in an 8-2 win over the Brewers, their second in two games (pitcher Michael Lorenzen hit a pinch-grand slam Saturday) and sixth in 17 games. They’ve already tied a club season record.

“We’ve been getting better at-bats … and we’ve happened to have men on base,” Riggleman said.

Cincinnati starter Matt Harvey pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings before being lifted after a rain delay Adidas Sidney Crosby Jersey , and the Reds dealt Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta (3-1), who gave up three runs in five innings, his first major league loss. Peralta allowed only one hit in seven shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals in his previous start.

“That’s probably the best I’ve felt since 2013,” said Harvey (4-5), who won his third straight start.

Shields (3-9), likewise, is beginning to see a ray of sunshine in what previously was a gloomy season. He’s coming off his best start of the year, pitching seven shutout innings and giving up four hits Wednesday in a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. It was his 12th quality start of the season, or five more than he had all of last season.

Shields still isn’t the pitcher that won 13 or more games seven times from 2008 to 2015, but it hasn’t helped that he’s pitching for a team that’s off to the second worst start in franchise history. He has allowed a respectable six earned runs in his last four starts, and twice yielded one or no runs while lasting at least seven innings.

At age 36, Shields is making adjustments to compensate for his decreased velocity, yet has pitched at least six innings in 12 of his last 13 starts for a last-place team.

“My body’s feeling really good this year, and this is kind of what I’ve done my whole career,” Shields told reporters after the game against the Twins. “I strive to go as deep as I possibly can in games and so far it’s been good.

“I’m not throwing as hard as I used to. If I were to throw over the top Adidas Joe Thornton Jersey , I’d still throw a little harder than I am right now. (But) at the end of the day, I’m feeling really good with my delivery right now, my mechanics. It’s been a lot of fun making these adjustments.”

Shields goes against Reds right-hander Luis Castillo (5-8), who was 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five June starts. He retired the first 11 batters he faced Wednesday at Atlanta, only to give up four quick runs on a walk and five consecutive singles, although the Reds came back to win 6-5.

Castillo is 0-1 in two starts against American League clubs this season, giving up eight runs in six innings. He has never faced the White Sox.

Shields is 18-18 with a 4.57 ERA in interleague play and 0-2 in two career starts against the Reds, the last of which was in 2015.

The White Sox (29-54) ended a three-game losing streak Sunday by salvaging the final game of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers, winning 10-5 as Avisail Garcia went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

The Reds have won five consecutive interleague games but are facing the White Sox at Great American Ball Park for the first time since 2009. The White Sox are 16-4 overall against the Reds and 10-2 in Cincinnati, though that success there predated any of the current players.