Houston tied the score at 1 in the bottom of the third but 43-year-old catcher Pat Borders hit a solo home run in the fourth to put the Dodgers ahead 2-1. Borders bumped the lead to 3-1 when he drove in Travis Denker (Columbus, Vero Beach) with a single in the sixth.
Eric Hull (Las Vegas) allowed one run in three, then Tim Hamulak, just put back on the Dodger rosters, pitched a scoreless fourth. Dan Mugge (Vero Beach) was tagged for the Astros second run before Nick Alvarez, a first baseman by trade (Jacksonville), pitched a shutout seventh to set the stage for the big eighth inning implosion.
Trailing 3-2, the Astros sent 13 batters to the plate in the eighth inning, thumping Mike Alexander (Vero Beach) and Spike Lundberg, signed as a free agent in January.
Dodgers ab r h bi Ruan lf 4 0 1 0 Mueller 3b 2 0 0 0 Denker 3b 2 0 1 0 Kent 2b 2 0 0 0 DeWitt 2b 2 1 0 0 Kemp cf 4 1 0 0 Borders c 3 1 2 1 Langill ph 1 0 1 0 Weber rf 3 0 1 1 Ellis ph 0 0 0 0 Alvarez 1b 2 0 2 0 Brazell 1b 2 0 1 0 De Jesus ss 2 0 0 0 Bruce ss 1 0 0 0 Hull p 1 0 1 0 Cresse ph 1 0 0 0 Paul rf 2 0 0 0 Totals 34 3 10 3 Houston 34 11 13 10 Dodgers 010 101 000 - 3 Houston 001 001 09x -11 E- Houston 2, Alvarez. DP- LA Dodgers 1, Houston 2. LOB- LA Dodgers 6, Houston 10. 2B- Alvarez. HR- Borders 1 (1). CS- Ruan. S- De Jesus. Dodgers in h r-er bb so Hull 3.0 5 1-1 2 3 Hamulack 1.0 1 0-0 0 1 Muegge 1.2 0 1-1 3 2 Alvarez 1.1 1 0-0 0 1 Alexander (L,0-1) 0.1 1 4-4 3 0 Lundberg 0-2 5 5-5 0 0 WP- Lundberg. T- 2:38. A- 3,347.Cutdown Time- A number of former Dodgers have career decisions to make soon. Lenny Harris, the career Major League leader in pinch-hits, was released by Pittsburgh after he was told he would not make the team. RHP Richardo Rodriguez, who was the Dodgers' Chad Billingsley at on time, was released by Philadelphia. Obtained from Texas, Rodriguez didn'st win a spot in the staarting rotation and is not suited to pitch in relief. He had a 4.15 ERA and seven walks over 16 innings this spring. Catcher Geronimo Gil. who has played for Baltimore off and on over th last five years, has been released. He has a career average of 238. Former Dodgers reliever Giovanni Carrara was reassigned to the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league camp in a surprise move Thursday. Carrara, who pitched for Pirates manager Jim Tracy in Los Angeles the last two seasons, had a 9.00 ERA in six spring training games. The 38-year-old Carrara said he had been unable to settle into a rhythm since returning from pitching for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. And Edwin Jackson will need a strong effosrt in his next start against the Yankees to star in the battle for the fifth starter at Tampa Bay. He has struggled in his last two starts. And 1B Hee-Seop Choi strained a hamstring Tuesday and is almost certain to open the season at AAA Pawtucket, a Boston farm club.
Happy Birthday--Bill Hallman (1867-1920), Gene Snyder (1931-1996), Balvino Galvez (44).
Quote of the Day-- "It's a blue-collar team. What that means is we have players I believe will play hard, whose effort will never be lacking and who will be able to win games on effort and grinding it out once in a while over talent" GM Ned Colletti, who made a point this winter of pursuing players who fit that mold, speaking to Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily News.
Dodger Blue Notes-- With the Dodgers keeping 12 pitchers, infielder Oscar Robles might be tshe odd-man out unless Rafael Furcal opens the season on the disabled list. There is some thought of sending outfielder Jason Repko to Triple-A and keep Robles along with Ramon Martinez to play shortstop until Furcal is healthy. Furcal said his back felt better than it did Tuesday when he injured it running the bases, but he isn't close to being ready to play. It is unclear whether he will recover in time for opening day. …Pitcher Kurt Ainsworth will have shoulder surgery April 5 and be unavailable until at least August. Ainsworth is signed to a minor-league contract. …Catcher Dioner Navarro played in his first Grapefruit League game since straining his right hamstring two weeks ago, catchng five innings in a 4-3, 10-inning victory over Washington and is ready for the opener. That means catching prospect Russell Martin will begin the season at Las Vegas and remain there all year if Navarro stays healthy. …Former Dodger Eric Karros will provide color commentary for the Braves-Dodgers game on Opening Day. Karros spent 14 seasons in the big leagues with Los Angeles.