Kent's heroics not quite enough for LA
Veteran sets Dodgers NLDS hits record in a losing cause
LOS ANGELES -- Jeff Kent tried his best to carry the Dodgers on his back, but his teammates were unable to take the ride.
Kent, whose 68 RBIs this year were his lowest total of any season since 1996, kept clubbing throughout the National League Division Series when seemingly every other Dodger could not. He pounded out eight hits in three games against the victorious Mets, breaking Steve Garvey's team NLDS record of seven, set in 1981.
The eight base knocks tied the most Kent has posted in any playoff series of his career. His other eight-hit series came with the Giants in the 2002 World Series, which went seven games. This came in just three, a testament to how locked in Kent was at the plate.
"Jeff played unbelievable," Nomar Garciaparra said. "We had a lot of veteran leadership, and that's just the way it has been all year."
Aside from taking one turn around third base a bit too slow in New York, Kent had a great series in what was otherwise a rough time for an offense that led the National League in the regular season with a .276 batting average.
Behind Kent, J.D. Drew sent fly balls to the outfield and grounders to the infield on his way to stranding 11 men on base during the series. In front of Kent, table-setters Kenny Lofton and Rafael Furcal amassed just three combined hits.
The veteran second baseman began the series with a pair of singles and cranked out two more in Game 2. He followed that up with four hits in a must-win game for his club on Saturday, becoming only the second Dodger in Division Series history to have a four-hit game. Kent hit .615 over the three games, a team Division Series record for a player with at least 10 at-bats.
Kent tied Game 3 in the fourth inning with a two-run home run to left field, which was part of a three-run frame that gave the Dodgers their first -- and only -- lead of the evening. The drive sent a sellout crowd at Dodger Stadium into delirium, which might have helped induce the Mets bullpen into allowing a pair of walks in the inning, including a bases-loaded pass to James Loney that brought home the go-ahead run.
Kent came through again in the sixth inning, but his smash into the left-field corner with Lofton on first base bounced over the wall. Kent was left with a ground-rule double, and the Dodgers missed out on a run that easily would have scored, as Lofton was forced to stop at third.
Still, Kent declined to discuss his standout performance in the wake of the Dodgers' elimination.
"The game has nothing to do with me," he said.
Even so, when the Dodgers' fate was all but determined in the bottom of the eighth on Saturday, Kent picked up his fourth hit of the contest.
The hit was just another sign he was willing to keep on playing ball, even though the Dodgers were unable to keep it going.
Greg Wagner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.