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The Juice: Dodgers off to a best-in-baseball start, Hanley’s late heroics shine bright

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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(AP)

The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.

Best in the west — and all of baseball: A first-of-its-kind triple play, the return of Vin Scully and a 5-4 walkoff win over the San Diego Padres that was keyed by Dee Gordon's RBI single. There wasn't much more a Dodgers fan could have asked for from their Sunday afternoon.

But just in case any of them wanted another highlight or two, there was Matt Kemp homering for the third time in four games, bringing his total to a major-league-leading six home runs. He's currently hitting .487. The Dodgers also moved their record to a best-in-baseball 9-1 with their first sweep of a six-game homestand since 2009.

''I'm proud of my guys,'' Kemp told reporters after the game. ''We're finding ways to win. Whatever it is, we're getting it done.''

But, wait! There's more! Those of us who headed for the exits after Omar Infante lit up the Marlins' home run sculpture in the second inning missed an even better display from Hanley Ramirez. Not only did the Miami third baseman set off the colorful contraption himself with a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth, but he also reeled in a 5-4 win over Houston with a RBI single in the bottom of the 11th. He was 4 for 5 on the day.

Home sweep home? The Red Sox responded to Jacoby Ellsbury's disappointing injury news a little better than we thought, capturing wins in its first three home games (including a 6-4 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday). They'll go for the four-game sweep of the Rays with Monday's Patriots Day game at 11 a.m. ET.

Hamels brings the heat: Looking to avoid a sweep by the Mets, Philadelphia got help from both Cole Hamels and its offense in an 8-2 victory over New York.  Hamels' 10-strikeout performance gave him 19 for the season and tied him for the MLB lead with Felix Hernandez and Aaron Harang.

Chipper's big day: A three-run homer by Chipper Jones — just a few days after having his knee drained — lifted the Braves to a 7-4 victory and a series sweep of Milwaukee. Atlanta is now 5-4 after an 0-4 start.

Carpenter leads Cards: No, Chris Carpenter isn't back yet. We're talking about St. Louis rookie utilityman Matt Carpenter, who went 4 for 4 with five RBIs in a 10-3 win over the Cubs at Busch Stadium. Talk about making the most of an opportunity: Carpenter is hitting .409 with 10 RBIs over 22 at-bats while filling in for some injured teammates.

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Quote of the Day: "Let's hope it doesn't happen again. I don't like to be put in that situation, but we needed an inning.'' — Royals outfielder Mitch Maier after being forced to pitch the ninth inning of Kansas City's 13-7 loss to Cleveland. Maier was the only Royals pitcher to not surrender a run on Sunday.

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Photo of the Day:  Remembering Jackie

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(AP)

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Three facts for the water cooler

• Though it took Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia only 91 pitches to get through six innings, his relievers were nowhere near as efficient.  It took Jared Hughes, Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan a total of 76 pitches to get through the final three innings of a 4-1 win over the Giants.

• The A's have yet to break double digits in hits during any of their 10 games.

•  Baltimore's Brian Matusz saw his league-leading losing streak hit 11 games after dropping a 9-2 decision to Toronto. He hasn't won since last June 6 against — hey, hey! — Oakland.

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