Big Dodger First Inning Stops Astros 8-3

Los Angeles, facing lefty Roy Oswalt who sported the seventh best ERA in the National League, scored five runs in the first innings before a man was retired and coasted to an 8-3 win behind sparkling pitching from Edwin Jackson and Elmer Dessens. Jackson made only one mistake, a home run ball in the sixth, and Dessens and Steve Schmoll were nearly perfect over the final 3.2 innings.

The new and improved version of Edwin Jackson (1-1) was unveiled in Dodger Stadium Saturday night, showcasing the youngster who was once the Dodgers top pitching prospect -- and still may be -- while bringing memories of his 2003 debut when he out-dueled Randy Johnson in his first major league start.

Before a crowd of 51,738, Jackson sailed through the first five innings with ease, enjoying a 7-0 lead made possible by a five-run explosion in the first inning. Still a bit two generous with his pitches, a double, a walk and a three-run home run on his 107th offering chased him from the game.

Jackson, recalled from Double-A Jacksonville on Aug. 22, after Odalis Perez went on the disabled list, stranded four runners in scoring position.

Los Angeles saw Houston lefty Roy Oswalt's first 42 pitches with extreme clarity, collecting three singles, a double and two bases-loaded walks to ring up five runs before he finally got Jose Valentin, the eighth batter in the lineup, to fly to right field and record the first out.

Jose Cruz slugged a two run double later and Jeff Kent added a solo homer, his 23rd this season and 325th of his 14-year career later in the game. Cruz, the son of the Astro's first base coach, Cruz, is 11-for-30 (.367) against his father's team.

Elmer Dessens took over for Jackson in the seventh and allowed one hit before turning things over to Steve Schmoll, who also gave up one hit while closing out the victory.

The Dodgers snapped a three-game losing streak and moved within 5 games of division-leading San Diego in the National League West. Arizona also won and remains tied with the Dodgers for second place.

Antonio Perez slapped a triple into the right field corner to open the first. Oscar Robles singled him home, Kent singled to right and Jason Phillips doubled on Oswalt's 12th pitch and L.A. led 2-0. Jayson Werth walked as did Cruz to force in two more runs, Duaner Navarro's single drove in the fourth and Jackson walked with the bases loaded on Oswalt's 36th pitch for a 5-0 margin.

Oswalt left in the fifth, his earliest exit of the season, having allowed seven runs on nine hits. It was the first time in 21 starts he had failed to work at least six innings.

Kent became the first player to hit 300 home runs as a second baseman. The shot came against reliever Mike Burns in the sixth and landed in the Dodgers bullpen. He has held the all-time record for home runs at second base since Oct. 2, 2004, when he passed Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg (277) for first place.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Houston manager Phil Garner is one of six current Major League managers who once played for Los Angeles: Dusty Baker (Cubs), Charlie Manuel (Phillies), Willie Randolph (Mets), Frank Robinson (Nationals) and Mike Scioscia (Angels). … The win marked the anniversary of Tommy Lasorda's 1,000th victory as a manager. The Dodgers beat the Phillies, 4-2, on Aug. 27, 1988. Hall of Famer Lasorda retired with 1,599 wins. …Jeff Weaver (12-8, 4.41 ERA) will try to tie a career high with his 13th win when he faces Major League ERA leader Roger Clemens (11-6, 1.56 ERA) today as the Dodgers celebrated their World Championship victory in 1955.